The Accusing Finger


1h 2m 1936

Brief Synopsis

An attorney is responsible for sending an innocent man to jail for a murder he did not commit. He soon gets a taste of his own medicine when his wife is murdered and no one will believe him when he claims he didn't do it.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Turning Point
Release Date
Oct 9, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Deputy District Attorney Douglas "Hotseat" Goodwin, who uses circumstantial evidence to win his cases, has a 100% success rate for convictions, of which 90% result in executions. After Douglas argues with his estranged wife Muriel, who refuses to divorce him so that he can marry his secretary, Claire Patterson, Muriel attempts to fend off a jewel thief and is shot and killed. Douglas, who is still in the house, finds the gun and shoots the thief, who escapes. Due to circumstantial evidence, Douglas is convicted of Muriel's murder and sentenced to be executed. On death row he meets Jimmy Ellis, for whom he had previously obtained a death sentence while he was still firm in his belief in capital punishment. Although all the other convicts hate Douglas, Jimmy befriends him, and Douglas is deeply moved when Jimmy dies in the electric chair. In the meantime, investigator Jerry Welch, who is also in love with Claire, searches for the missing thief. Claire, finally recognizing Jerry's integrity, falls in love with him, but remains committed to helping Douglas. Claire travels to the capitol to help Senator Nash put a bill through Congress that would repeal capital punishment. On the eve of his execution, Douglas is allowed to speak against capital punishment to the senate. Jerry and his detectives find the thief, John "Twitchy" Burke, whose underworld doctor has the bullet from the gun that killed Muriel. With this evidence, Douglas is given a last minute reprieve just as Senator Nash's bill is approved by the Senate. Douglas, aware that Claire is in love with Jerry, gives his blessings to their union and returns to the D. A.'s office with renewed vigor as an investigator.

Cast

Paul Kelly

Douglas ["Hotseat"] Goodwin

Marsha Hunt

Claire Patterson

Kent Taylor

Jerry Welch

Robert Cummings

Jimmy Ellis

Harry Carey

Senator Nash

Bernadene Hayes

Muriel Goodwin

Joseph Sawyer

Priest

Dewitt Jennings

Warden

Russell Hicks

Senator Forrest

Jonathan Hale

Special prosecutor

Rollo Lloyd

Dr. Simms

Paul Fix

John ["Twitchy"] Burke

Sam Flint

District attorney Benton

Hilda Vaughn

Maid

George Irving

Judge

Priscilla Lawson

Hat check girl

Arthur Loft

Convict

Ben F. Hendricks

Convict

Frank Marlowe

Convict

Martin Lamont

Convict

O. G. "dutch" Hendrian

Convict

Milburn Stone

Convict

Walter Long

Convict

J. P. Mcgowan

Inner guard-prison yard

Jack Raymond

Prisoner

P. E. "tiny" Newland

Prisoner

Frank O'connor

Deputy

Charles R. Moore

Black prisoner

Ralf Harolde

Spud

Fred Kohler

Johnson

Matty Fain

Condemned man

Ward Bond

Prison guard

Sam Tong

Chinese man

Bob Perry

Escort guard

Jack Perrin

Guard

Charles Mcmurphy

Guard

Walter Mcgrail

Guard

John Carroll

Dominic

Thomas Jackson

Logan

Louis Mason

Higgins

Lee Phelps

Riley

Torben Meyer

Proprietor

Kenneth Harlan

Police surgeon

Bruce Mitchell

Guard in police shower

Bob Mckenzie

Butter and egg man

Rolfe Sedan

Headwaiter

De Wolf Hopper

Reporter

Frank Losee Jr.

John ["Twitchy"] Burke

George Chandler

Reporter

Al Hill

Reporter

Frank Rowan

Reporter

Nick Lukats

Reporter

Frederick Burton

Governor

Ivan "dusty" Miller

Speaker of house

Hooper Atchley

Senator

Harry C. Bradley

Senator

Arthur Stuart Hull

Senator

William Worthington

Senator

Harry Bailey

Senator

Ralph Lewis

Senator

Larry Steers

Senator

Phillips Smalley

Senator

Arthur Van Slyke

Senator

Eddie Dunn

Sergeant at arms

Kitty Mchugh

Waiter's wife

James P. Burtis

Waiter

Selmer Jackson

Medical examiner

Frank Mayo

Copy desk man

James Conlin

Bill poster

James Morton

Bill poster

Susanne Willa

Woman on bus

Mae Busch

Woman on bus

Harry Tyler

Man on top of bus

Churchill Ross

Ballistic expert

Edwin Stanley

Fingerprint expert

Harry Hayden

Clerical employee

Fay Holden

Little old lady

Glen Belt

Detective Billings

Irene Bennett

Ethel Clayton

Terry Ray

Gloria Williams

Film Details

Also Known As
The Turning Point
Release Date
Oct 9, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was The Turning Point. According to Screen Achievements Bulletin, the screenplay was developed by Madeleine Ruthven and Brian Marlow from an original story by John Bright and Robert Tasker although all four writers are given screenplay credit onscreen.