Fugitives for a Night


1h 3m 1938

Brief Synopsis

A faded star is suspected of killing a studio executive.

Film Details

Also Known As
Birthday of a Stooge
Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Sep 23, 1938
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 20 Sep 1938
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

After aspiring actor Matt Ryan is fired from his job as a publicity "stooge" to matinee idol John Nelson, he is rehired to play stooge to Dennis Poole, an aging star whose box office appeal is on the wane. Although his publicist girl friend, Ann Wray, insists that he would be happier as the owner of a hamburger stand, Matt accepts the humiliation that goes along with being an actor's flunky because Maurice Tenwright, the coldblooded studio head, has promised him a part in one of his films. Eager to make good as a stooge, Matt accompanies Dennis to the opening of the Joshua Club, a swank, out-of-the-way gambling spot. At the opening, which is also attended by the fickle but tempting Eileen Baker, a featured player, Matt participates in a publicity gag in which he picks a fight with and then fires a round of blanks at a club gambler. Soon after, Tenwright receives a tip that the club is to be raided and instructs Matt to remove Dennis from the premises. Once Dennis is gone, Matt returns to the club to warn Eileen and is caught in the police raid. During the raid, the lights go out and a gun is fired through a window. When the police captain discovers Tenwright's body, he immediately suspects Matt, who is unable to find his "stage" gun. With help from Ann, Matt escapes in Tenwright's car and, after a night "on the lamb," ends up at Dennis' house, where the captain has gathered all of the club guests for an impromptu "party." After hiding in Dennis' kitchen, Matt takes Ann to John Nelson's house and learns from the butler that Nelson took his gun with him that night. Sure that Nelson, who had been fighting with Tenwright over his acting contract, is the killer, Matt returns to the party and confronts him. To Matt's dismay, Nelson is cleared by the captain, who then declares that, through a special form of "handprinting," he can determine the murderer's identity. Cornered, Dennis finally confesses to the crime, thus freeing Matt to give up his stooge career and buy a hamburger stand with the ever-faithful Ann.

Film Details

Also Known As
Birthday of a Stooge
Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Sep 23, 1938
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 20 Sep 1938
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Birthday of a Stooge. According to a Film Daily news item, Paul Yawitz was hired to work the script, but his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room" adds Richard Lane, Robert Glecker and Cecil Kellaway to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Eleanor Lynn from M-G-M for the production. Fugitives for a Night was writer Dalton Trumbo's first credited script for RKO.