Cast & Crew
As the small town of Springfield finds itself becoming a center for crime and prostitution, its mayor holds an emergency meeting to discuss a plan to clean it up. Among those attending the meeting are newspaper publisher Jarvis; Professor Halloran, a university teacher; Dr. Edward Cavanaugh, the health commissioner; and Townsend, a representative from the district attorney's office. The community leaders agree with the mayor that the town should attract "right thinking, right living people," and together they formulate a plan to achieve that goal. The plan's strongest supporters are Cavanaugh and Major Raleigh of the Army Medical Corps, both of whom pledge to do their best. Following the meeting, business leader Pa James discovers, to his dismay, that his daughter Betty is seeing Bill Thorne, a mysterious young man from New York City. Cavanaugh, meanwhile, visits the Owl's Nest roadhouse, where two men try, unsuccessfully, to interest him in a prostitute. Cavanaugh later tells Jarvis that he was disturbed by what he saw at the club, and asks the publisher to issue a warning that eighty-five percent of the prostitutes there are infected with syphilis. Jarvis agrees to help, and assigns reporter Sandra James, Betty's older sister, to work on the case with Cavanaugh. Pa James eventually grows fond of Bill after he discovers that the young man is one of his employees and that he intends to be an engineer. Bill's promising future is cut short, however, when he is told by a physician, Dr. Henry Hobson, that he has syphilis. Hobson, a quack, promises Bill a cure with expensive treatments, and instructs him to postpone his marriage to Betty for two to three months until he is cured. A short time later, newspaper stories announce the new health campaign in town. The articles spur the townspeople to action, with many rushing to get their blood tested. At the same time, community leaders express opposition to the publicity the disease is getting in the newspapers. While the mayor calls the commissioner's efforts a "filthy newspaper campaign," eventually the assistant district attorney helps Cavanaugh's campaign by raiding the Owl's Nest and putting under quarantine all those inside. Time passes, and Bill is told by his doctor that he is cured of syphilis. Bill and Betty are married, but when Pa James orders all his employees to get their blood tested, it is revealed that Bill still has the disease. Betty, now pregnant, tests positive for the disease, and it is Cavanaugh and Sandra who deliver the bad news to Bill and Betty. Bill, outraged at Hobson's duplicity, kills him. He later confesses to the murder but Townsend, the assistant district attorney, resigns his post to defend him. The case goes to trial before Judge Prescott, who, after hearing the compelling defense which reveals that Hobson was also an impostor, acquits Bill of the murder. The mayor and the community rally to back Cavanaugh and Bill and Betty reconcile.
J. Arthur Young
H. M. Elliott M.d.
Edward A. Golden
The film was condemned by the Legion of Decency for presenting material "unfit for the screen", and was also released without a Production Code seal of approval.
The working title of this film was The Kiss of Death. The film marked the initial production and distribution effort by University Film Productions, Inc. The company operated at Fine Arts Studio, and its president was Eddie Golden. According to a April 28, 1941 memo contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Hays Office objected to the script's treatment of sex hygiene and venereal disease and warned University that "white slavery shall not be treated." A memo dated the following day indicates that Golden, after meeting with Hays Office officials, agreed to eliminate any suggestion of white slave traffic, but planned to appeal the venereal disease aspect. According to PCA records, no certificate was issued for the film.