Paper Bullets


1h 9m 1941

Brief Synopsis

Afterseeking revenge for her boyfriend, Joan Woodbury finds herself in jail on a hit-and-run charge. Ladd plays an undercover reporter doubling for a notorious gangster.

Film Details

Also Known As
Gangs, Inc.
Release Date
Jun 13, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
K-B Productions, Inc.; Producers Releasing Corp.
Distribution Company
Producers Releasing Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,390ft

Synopsis

At a playground, little Rita Adams is enjoying a reunion with her ex-convict father when he is suddenly shot to death. Rita is sent to an orphanage, where her closest playmates are Bob Elliot and Mickey Roma. Her father's prison record continues to haunt Rita as an adult, and she loses her factory job when she cannot get bonded. Rita's roommate, aspiring singer Donna Andrews, secretly calls Bob, now an aerospace engineer, hoping he can help his old friend find work. Bob has always loved Rita, but she is involved with Harold DeWitt, the dissolute son of the powerful Clarence DeWitt, who disapproves of their relationship. While they are driving one night, the intoxicated Harold hits and kills a pedestrian. Acting on the advice of his father's attorney, Bruce King, Harold persuades Rita to take the blame for the accident, promising to marry her and assuring her that she will not have to serve time. However, Rita is sent to prison, and there is visited by Mickey, who is now working in organized crime. Angry at the injustice of Rita's situation, Mickey breaks into King's office after Rita is released and steals Harold's file, which contains correspondence proving that Clarence paid King to make sure Rita went to prison. Embittered by this information, Rita dons a blonde wig and turns to armed robbery, becoming a wealthy and notorious criminal. Meanwhile, police chief Flynn is stung by accusations made by DeWitt, now head of a reform committee, that the police are soft on organized crime. Flynn tells detective Joe Kent that he has sent a new officer, Jimmy Kelly, to infiltrate the underworld, hoping to benefit from Jimmy's striking resemblance to mobster Billy Dugan. In his guise as Dugan, Jimmy collects protection money for racketeer Kurt Parrish, who complains that receipts are down because of DeWitt's reform efforts. Mickey, meanwhile, asks Rita to return the letters in Harold's file, but she has her own plan for revenge and buys radio time to speak out against DeWitt's hypocrisy. This wins her a meeting with Parrish and mobster Lou Wood, and after Rita negotiates a place for herself in the syndicate, she then visits DeWitt with photocopies of the letters. Spurning DeWitt's offer of money, Rita forces him to use his political influence for the syndicate's benefit, prompting Jimmy to observe that Parrish is using votes, or "paper bullets," to take control. Later, when Mickey learns that the real Dugan is in prison, Jimmy is abducted by Parrish's men, and the ensuing pursuit by the police ends in an accident. Joe persuades the newspapers to print the false information that Jimmy was killed in the crash, which devastates Donna, who has fallen in love with him. Rita then quits the syndicate to marry Bob, but immediately after the wedding she is arrested and indicted along with Parrish, Wood and DeWitt. During the trial, the courtroom spectators are shocked when Jimmy takes the stand, and all four defendants are convicted. As Bob comforts Rita and promises to wait for her, children play at the playground she built as a monument to the innocence of youth.

Film Details

Also Known As
Gangs, Inc.
Release Date
Jun 13, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
K-B Productions, Inc.; Producers Releasing Corp.
Distribution Company
Producers Releasing Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,390ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This film was also known as Gangs, Inc., which was the title on the viewed print. The New York Times reviewed it under the title Gangs, Inc. News items in trade publications report that Paper Bullets was the first film produced by the newly formed K-B Productions. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Sara Berner was cast in a leading role, but her participation in the final film has not been confirmed. A Hollywood Reporter new item also reports that Alan Ladd replaced Philip Trent in the "top romantic role"; Trent did play a smaller part in the film, however.