The Return of Jimmy Valentine


1h 7m 1936

Film Details

Release Date
Feb 22, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Alias Jimmy Valentine by Paul Armstrong (New York, 21 Jan 1910).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Jimmy Valentine, a famous cracksman, has been in hiding for years. While newspapers compete with commercial radio for advertising dollars, a successful radio program based on the Valentine case causes the cancellation of a $30,000 dental paste advertising contract with a Chicago newspaper. Hoping publicity will bolster advertising sales, Gary Howard, star reporter at the newspaper, suggests that the paper sponsor a "Find Jimmy Valentine" contest, offering $5,000 to anyone who can locate the elusive retired thief. Gary's first clue leads him to the small town of Riverside, Indiana. There, a young woman named Midge Davis, who wants the reward money for charity, tells Gary that "Red" Dolan, Valetine's "lookout," has been her family chauffeur for twenty years. Also in Riverside is gangster Tony Scapelli, son of "Crazy" Scapelli, who was executed when Tony was a child. Before he died, Crazy had instructed his son to avenge his death by killing Valentine, whom Crazy believed had double-crossed him and was responsible for his capture. Scapelli takes a room adjacent to Gary's and taps his telephone line, hoping Gary will lead him to Valentine. Scapelli confronts Red, but he refuses to divulge any information about Valentine's whereabouts. Gary then receives an anonymous letter that asks him to abandon his search in order to protect three innocent people. Tracing the letter, Gary discovers that Midge's banker father Jimmy is really Valentine. Red, meanwhile, tells Jimmy of Scapelli's visit and offers to leave town in order to preserve his secret identity. When Red leaves Jimmy's home, Midge and Gary follow him to the bank, where Gary meets Jimmy and confirms his suspicions that he is Valentine. Jimmy confesses his true identity to Gary, but Midge believes Red is the real former cracksman. Back at the hotel, Gary telephones his editor with the news that he has located Valentine and is overheard by Scapelli. When Midge, who now knows who her father is, arrives to dissuade Gary from printing the story, Scapelli enters and kidnaps her and Gary. Scapelli forces Gary at gunpoint to telephone Jimmy and tell him to meet Gary at the bank. While a henchman named Louie guards Midge, Scapelli escorts Gary to the bank, where he demands the money in the vault as payment for Midge's freedom and the preservation of Jimmy's anonymity. When Jimmy claims he does not know the combination to the safe, Scapelli insists that he, Jimmy Valentine, can open any safe. Before Jimmy does so, Gary sounds the alarm, and following a scuffle, Jimmy holds Scapelli and his men at gunpoint until the police arrive. Red, meanwhile, has paid a visit to Gary's newspaper, where he claimed he was Jimmy Valentine and collected the reward. Gary calls his editor with the scoop of the kidnapping and capture of the Scapelli gang, as well as of his impending engagement to a small town banker's daughter.

Film Details

Release Date
Feb 22, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Alias Jimmy Valentine by Paul Armstrong (New York, 21 Jan 1910).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Paul Armstrong based his play on the short story "A Retrieved Reformation by O. Henry, which was published in Cosmopolitan in April 1903. According to a 1943 news item in New York Times, San Francisco playwright Armstrong, "a character with a battered hat, black cigar and buzz-saw voice," met actor H. B. Warner in Chicago and "suddenly popped up with a plot taken from an O. Henry short story," and with the help of a group of artists, he wrote, cast, rehearsed and produced the play Alias Jimmy Valentine in eleven days. The play, with Warner as the lead, ran three years (155 performances) in New York, where it was revived on December 8, 1921. Actor Robert Warwick played "Jimmy Valentine" in the first screen version of the play. Paul Armstrong, Jr., son of the playwright, collaborated on the original story for this sequel. According to a pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter on October 9, 1935, William A. Ullman, Jr. and Robert Sinclair were originally set to collaborate with Scott Darling on this film's story. The Motion Picture Herald review refers to the character of Jimmy Valentine as having been "fiction's favorite cracksman" at the turn of the century, and the Hollywood Reporter review states that Jimmy Valentine was the subject of a "recent popular radio series." Daily Variety reported on November 15, 1935 that Republic had signed George Seaton and Robert Pirosh to collaborate with Scott Darling on the final screenplay for this film, although their contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. Early Hollywood Reporter production charts list James Burke as a cast member, but his participation in the final film has not been determined. Warner was originally set to revive his stage role as "Jimmy Valentine" in this film and was listed in an early Hollywood Reporter production chart. Exploitation materials state that a five-thousand word novelization of The Return of Jimmy Valentine appeared in the May 1936 issue of the fan magazine Screen Romances. Armstrong's play was the source of a 1915 World Film Corp. film, directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring Robert Warwick and Robert Cummings, and a 1920 Metro Pictures Corp. film, directed by Edmund Mortimer and Arthur D. Ripley and starring Bert Lytell and Vola Vale (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0046 and F1.0047). The play was also the source for a 1929 M-G-M film directed by Jack Conway, starring William Haines and Lionel Barrymore (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0078). The Return of Jimmy Valentine was remade in 1942 by Republic as Affairs of Jimmy Valentine, with Bernard Vorhaus directing, and Dennis O'Keefe and Ruth Terry starring. Olive Cooper contributed to the remake script. In 1986, American Playhouse staged Alias Jimmy Valentine for broadcast on public television.