Chain of Circumstance


1h 8m 1951

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Chain of Circumstance" by David Lang in True Story (publication date undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m

Synopsis

Tom and Dell Dawson are devastated upon losing their first baby in childbirth. Later, Tom cautiously suggets to Dell that they consider adoption, and is pleased when she is enthusiastic. The couple puts in an application at an agency, and a few months later, at his job in a wholesale jeweler's office, Tom receives an urgent message that a baby has become available, and rushes out, leaving a supply of valuable rings with his secretary, Evie Carpenter. Tom and Dell are thrilled when they are presented with a baby girl on probation for one year. The next day Tom celebrates at the office, as Evie slips away to pawn an antique ring. When the shop owner presses Evie for identification, however, she panics and bolts. Returning to the store, Evie, who hopes to marry her boyfriend Joe soon, admits to Tom that she needs money and Tom offers to pawn the ring for her. A couple of days later, Tom's boss, Mr. Marvin, informs him that a jewelry supplier has reported that a returned shipment of rings has one piece missing. Realizing that Evie must have stolen the ring that he has since pawned, Tom lies and claims he inadvertently placed it with a client. Tom rushes over to Evie's apartment, only to discover that her landlady, Mrs. Mullins, has found Evie deathly ill and summoned a doctor. Tom desperately searches Evie's purse for the pawn ticket, but, claiming that Evie owes her two months back rent, Mrs. Mullins takes it from him and throws him out. Back at home, Tom confides in Dell, who urges him to confess everything to Marvin, but Tom reveals that an insurance investigation would ruin the company. After Evie dies, an autopsy indicates that she was pregnant and took poison. A police investigation of Evie's death begins on the same day that a representative from the adoption agency, Mrs. Emily Greer, arrives at the office for a routine check on Tom. At lunch, Tom meets Dell for a trip to the pawnshop, but they are dismayed to see Mrs. Mullins loitering about the entrance, so Dell volunteers to recover the ring. The shop owner's son Sid informs Dell that without the pawn ticket he cannot release the ring until the required waiting period has expired, then suggests that he might let her have the ring if she accompanies him to lunch. Dell agrees and Tom follows the couple to a diner. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mullins goes into the shop with the pawn ticket and tries to force the owner to give her the ring, but he insists that only the person who pawned it can claim it. At the diner, Sid attempts to caress Dell, but Tom intervenes and a fight ensues. When Dell finds the ring on the floor, she retrieves it and flees with Tom. Sid rushes back to the shop, trailed by the police, and explains the situation to his father as Mrs. Mullins listens. She then hysterically accuses Tom and Dell of being in league to get the ring and contacts the police. After Mrs. Mullins identifies Tom as the man she saw in Evie's room before her death, the police conclude he is Evie's boyfriend as they have been unable to locate anyone by the name of Joe. They accuse him of having a relationship with Evie and inform him that he must attend a preliminary hearing the following day. Back at home, Tom resists calling a lawyer, fearful that the adoption agency will learn of their problem. Tom realizes that to link Evie to the ring, he must find the pawnshop she originally visited. The Dawsons visit several pawnshops that day with a photo of Evie, but their search proves fruitless. Mrs. Greer awaits them at home, to take the baby, having been informed of the Dawsons' dilemma by the police. The next morning a distraught Tom goes over the list of shops and notices a familiar name and presses Dell about whether she indeed visited it. When she is unsure, Tom rushes to the shop but the old lady proprietor insists she runs the shop everyday except one hour at lunch. As Tom is about to leave in despair, he notices a framed photo of Evie and demands to know where the woman got it. Looking up the transaction, the woman gives Tom the name and address of Joe and Tom hastens to the address, a cheap hotel. The hotel manager informs Tom that Joe was killed in a hit-and-run accident the day of Evie's death, after taking her money and breaking off their relationship. The manager recalls that Evie had written Joe a letter that day and allows Tom to read it. In it Evie announces her pregnancy and admits stealing the ring in hopes of using the money from it to start anew with Joe in another state. Tom takes the note to the police and is cleared. Marvin agrees to keep Tom on, and soon after, Mrs. Greer returns the baby to the relieved and happy Dawsons.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Chain of Circumstance" by David Lang in True Story (publication date undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The opening credits indicate that the film was made with the cooperation of True Story Magazine. According to reviews, the picture was the second in a projected series of adaptations of True Story Magazine tales. The first, My True Story, was directed by Mickey Rooney (see below). It does not appear that any more films in the series were produced.