'Frisco Lil


60m 1942

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 13, 1942
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 10 Feb 1942; New York opening: 11 Feb 1942
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Film Length
5,410ft

Synopsis

Aboard a train, law student Lillian Grayson plays a game of crooked poker with her gambler father, Jeff Gray. Jeff laments that their vacation together is coming to an end, and that they must continue their charade of not knowing each other because of their chosen professions. After Lillian proclaims her love for her father, he leaves the train and is met by his associate, Mike, who warns him that his partner, Vince Warren, has been running his casino, the Commodore Club, in a dishonest manner. Once back at the casino, Jeff insists that the operation be run honestly, despite Vince's strenuous objections. Lillian, meanwhile, returns to law school, where she resumes her semi-secret romance with her professor, Peter Brewster. Peter finally takes Lillian home for dinner, in order to meet his parents, James and Nell Brewster. Meanwhile, back at Jeff's casino, Vince becomes upset when George, one of Jeff's old friends, wins $7,000 at the roulette wheel. The two friends are followed into town by Artie and Red, two of Vince's henchmen, who run the gamblers' car off the road and murder George. While his daughter is enjoying her evening with the Brewster family, Jeff is accused of the murder. Vince decides to allow Jeff to be implicated in the crime and quickly sends his murdering hoods out of town. Lillian learns of Jeff's dilemma, and, against her father's wishes, she visits him in jail. After Jeff tells her not to worry, as he is innocent and has hired top attorney J. B. Devers to defend him, Lillian reveals that she is engaged to Peter. Jeff then demands that his daughter stay away from him, as he does not want her to be tainted by the scandal. Jeff is later convicted of murder, as Devers, working under Vince's orders, offers little in the way of a defense. Lillian then leaves law school, and using the alias "Frisco Lil," pretends to be a crooked gambler looking for a job as a dealer. She adequately impresses Vince with her sleight of hand to win a job at the casino. Later, Peter and James are sent to the casino to collect evidence for Nell's crusade against gambling in their town, and Peter is astounded to see his missing fiancée dealing blackjack there. He follows Lillian back to her apartment, but she refuses to tell him why she has left him. Before he leaves, however, Peter warns Lillian that the Commodore is going to be raided the next night. Lillian tells Vince about the planned raid, and acting on her legal advice, Vince manages to get a restraining order to stop the police action. For her help, Lillian is made part of Vince's inner circle, which once again includes George's murderers. The next morning, James visits Lillian at her apartment, and the young woman confesses all. That evening, James pretends to be a drunken patron who, with Lillian's help, wins over $7,000 at the casino. Once again, Vince sends his henchmen after a big winner, but this time Artie and Red are followed by an unmarked police car. After Artie is killed in a police shootout, Red escapes long enough to phone Vince and tell him of the trap. Vince and his lead henchman, Gerrity, discover Lillian's true identity, but Mike shoots the crooked casino owner before he can kill her. Mike is killed as well, but he dies knowing that Vince and his gang have been stopped. Later, while Nell and Lillian listen politely to Peter's piano stylings, Jeff and James are caught playing poker in the Brewster family library.

Film Details

Release Date
Mar 13, 1942
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 10 Feb 1942; New York opening: 11 Feb 1942
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Film Length
5,410ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Frisco Kate. In April 1941, Hollywood Reporter reported that writer George Sayre had been assigned to work on the screenplay for Frisco Kate by associate producer Marshall Grant; it has not been determined if any of his work was used in the released film. In May 1941, Hollywood Reporter reported that writers Stanley Rubin and Roy Chanslor had been assigned to the screenplay; it has also not been determined if any of their work was used in the released film. Hollywood Reporter production charts and Universal publicity materials list John Litel in the cast, but he does not appear in the released film.