Midnight Intruder


1h 8m 1938

Film Details

Also Known As
The Welcome Imposter
Release Date
Feb 6, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Synthetic Gentleman by Channing Pollock (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Barry Gilbert was orphaned as a child and, at the age of twelve, was adopted and worked at a cotton mill. Now an adult living in New York City, Barry has teamed up with "Doc" Norton, "ex-newspaperman, ex-hacker, ex-hobo," and spends his time gambling at racetracks. When they go broke at Old Haven Downs, they must walk to the Belmont Park track in a rainstorm. They come across a seemingly vacated house and enter through a window. The service staff arrives and, finding Barry in pajamas, mistake him for John Clark Reitter, Jr., the prodigal, dissolute son of an irascible newspaper magnate, whom no one has seen for eight or nine years. Barry learns that John Clark, Sr. and his wife are on a trip and will be gone for eight weeks and, finding an unopened note from John, Jr. declining his mother's offer to come home for the summer, decides to become John, Jr. and enjoy a life of luxury. Mrs. Reitter loves her son, even though her husband disowned him for dropping out of Harvard in order to play the saxophone. At Mrs. Reitter's request, her neighbor, Judge Hammond, welcomes "John" into society. Hammond's daughter Patricia is angry at John, Sr. for printing insinuations that the judge is the puppet of political czar Mike Kelly. While Barry is at a party at the Hammonds', Kelly calls the judge and tries to force him to drum up a fraudulent deposition for a court case regarding valuable Jefferson Street property that Kelly is trying to procure. The judge refuses to comply, but loses his phone connection and leaves the party to see Kelly. The next morning, Barry receives a visit from Peggy, the wife of the real John, Jr., who tells him John, Jr. has been arrested for the murder of Mike Kelly. The previous evening, at a nightclub where Peggy works as a showgirl, Kelly accused Peggy of trying to pick his pocket when she was flirting with him as part of her act. The police are using the incident as John, Jr.'s motive. Peggy makes a pact to keep Barry's identity a secret on condition he helps her to clear John, Jr., who was arrested under the name Jay Rogers. Eager to prevent John, Jr. from breaking his mother's heart, Barry convinces Hammond's friend, criminal lawyer Peter Winslow, to take the case and, as John, Jr., wires Mrs. Reitter that he needs money to retain a lawyer for a friend who has been wrongfully accused. Pat, meanwhile, tells Barry that her father stayed in a hotel the previous night because he was distraught after witnessing a fatal accident in which a cab hit a lamppost. While driving past Kelly's house, Barry sees a lamppost being repaired and realizes the judge was at Kelly's the night he was murdered. Winslow then convinces Barry to get a job on John, Sr.'s newspaper, The New York Globe , under an assumed name, and Barry is hired by tough editor Bill Harwood as "Barry Gilbert." Barry is given his own column, written under the nom de plume "Dixie Devore," and his first assignment is to cover Jay Rogers. Globe reporter Joe Dillon gives Barry a tip that in two days, the paper will be revealing Kelly's real murderer, and assuming the judge will be named, Barry goes to the Hammonds' to warn Pat. There, the judge admits he was at Kelly's, but swears he didn't murder him. The real murderer, tracked down by Harwood, turns out to be nightclub owner Luis Romano, an escaped murderer whom Kelly had threatened to put away unless he turned over the Jefferson Street property. In preparation for the Reitters' return to New York, Barry welcomes John, Jr. and Peggy home and explains all to butler Willets and chauffeur Evans, who agree to keep Barry's impersonation a secret. He then explains all to Harwood and convinces him to hire the real John, Jr., whom Harwood has never met. When Barry is sent on assignment to the harbor to cover the marriage of a wealthy New York widow, Mrs. Randolph, he discovers the bridegroom is none other than Doc. Meanwhile, Jack and Peggy have told Mrs. Reitter about Barry. The Hammonds arrive at the harbor in time to see John Jr. greet his parents, and John, Sr. is proud of his son for the first time. By telling Barry he has been like a son to her, Mrs. Reitter fulfills his childhood dreams that he would be adopted by a kind, well-to-do family. Pat then asks Barry to explain his identity, and when he tells her it will take a lifetime, she tells him that's exactly what she had in mind, and they embrace.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Welcome Imposter
Release Date
Feb 6, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Synthetic Gentleman by Channing Pollock (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Channing Pollock's novel was serialized in American Magazine from February-July 1934. According to Universal properties records, a working title of this film May have been The Welcome Imposter.