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Sob Sister

Sob Sister(1931)

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Jane Ray, a very clever reporter of crimes of passion, or "sob sister," for a New York tabloid, begins to feel depressed by the sordidness of her latest assignment, the investigation of a young woman's murder by her husband. Despite her growing distaste for her profession, Jane gets her story and, with typical ingenuity, frustrates her competitors' attempts to follow her lead. Later that evening, Jane confesses to her friend Vonnie, who lives in the apartment above her, that her job has soured her on the idea of love and marriage, but her interest is piqued when she learns that Garry Webster, ace reporter for a "respectable" New York daily, who has moved in across the courtyard from her, will attend Vonnie's party that evening. Although Garry is in league with the reporters who "want Jane's blood," he recognizes real talent in her audacious reporting style and a real heart under her calculating lady-reporter persona. The two fall in love as Garry joins Jane in her apartment every morning for breakfast. The conjugal charade is interrupted, however, by a call from Jane's irascible editor Baker with a "sweet" assignment: a tortured, renowned poet named Bentley killed his lover, another man's wife, and then himself in a murder-suicide pact. Her instincts as a reporter not yet dulled by her newly found love, Jane leaves the apartment on a false pretense, but Garry, receiving the same assignment, beats her to Bentley's sister's home and manages to acquire Bentley's diary of the affair. Garry is determined to keep the diary out of the tabloids because of his admiration of the lovers' courage to love and then to die "with no regrets." That evening, despite professional competition, the couple spend the night together in Garry's apartment. Jane sneaks back to her own place in the morning after leaving a note stating she has "no regrets." She plans to meet Garry that night for dinner to talk of their future together. Pat, a photographer, arrives to let Jane in on a new story, the kidnapping of Billy Stotesley, a millionaire's son who identified the criminal "Johnny the Sheik." While Jane calls Baker to refuse the assignment and quit her job when he squawks, Pat goes to Garry's apartment to borrow some money, and while Garry is in the shower, Pat steals crucial pages from the Bentley diary. Garry, believing that Jane has "scooped" him, confronts her and accuses her of faking her emotions and of "selling" herself the previous night for the Bentley story. The accusation kills Jane's belief in love, and she calls Baker back and accepts the assignment to find the boy. Disguising herself as a gangster's moll, she infiltrates a speakeasy that Johnny the Sheik and his friends frequent. Her cover is blown, however, and the gangsters, believing that she's a cop, drag her to their rural hideout where they toss her into a room with the Stotesley boy. Meanwhile, a drunken Pat confesses that he stole the Bentley diary, and, moments later, a reporter announces Jane's kidnapping. Garry, fellow reporters and the police quickly pursue the gangsters, while Jane and the Stotesley boy manage to escape through a window, just as one of the gangsters, Gimp Peters, is about to enter the room and kill them. Gimp follows them into the woods and is about to fire when Garry arrives and tackles Gimp. After the police arrive, Jane forgives Garry, and they go for a bite to eat at an inn. After Jane sneaks away to call her editor with a last "scoop" on Garry, he quickly calls his newspaper. When Pat arrives with orders from Baker to get a photo of the two of them, Garry throws him out, saying he can take one tomorrow on the courthouse steps at high noon. The next day's front page reveals the headline "Sob Sister Finds Love at End of Kidnap Trial" above a picture of Garry and Jane kissing.