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Big Town (1932) On DVD


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Actor:            Lester Vail, Frances Dade, John Miltern, Geoffrey Bryant, Edith Broder
Director:      Arthur Hoerl
Genre:          Suspense
Year:             1932
Studio:         Alpha Video
Length:        54 minutes
Released:   July 27, 2010
Rating:         Not Rated
Format:        DVD (NTSC/Region 1)
Misc:             Color
Language:   English
Subtitles  :   N/A


Daily Sentinel editor James Wylie targets the secret syndicate of vice lords that run New York City and an explosion of violence ensues. Wylie is after the brains behind the enterprise, but lacks the evidence to crack the case wide open. As his investigation edges closer to the center of the criminal enterprise, his newspaper's offices are bombed. Wylie is shocked to discover that the father of his beautiful fiancee, Patricia, may very well be none other than the syndicate's kingpin.

Produced in New York City by Trojan Pictures in 1932, Big Town was written and directed by Arthur Hoerl who went on to write more than 150 films and television shows between the 1920s and the late 1960s. The most notable star of Big Town, Frances Dade, portrays Patricia Holman in the final entry of her twelve film career (1928-1932). In 1931, she played Lucy, the unlucky girl victimized by Bela Lugosi in Tod Browning's Dracula.

BIG TOWN was slapped together by Invincible Pictures, a low-budget concern that shared studio space (and production personnel) with the equally parsimonious Chesterfield Pictures. Lester Vail stars as a crusading newspaper editor who tries to get to the bottom of a series of murders. It turns out that the killings are tied in with a local vice ring, and that several "untouchable" prominent citizens are involved. Vail's leading lady is Frances Dade, best remembered as Bela Lugosi's first female victim in DRACULA (1931). Since the product of both studios looked exactly alike, here is a rule of thumb: Invincible Pictures' logo was an eagle surrounded by searchlights, while Chesterfield's trademark was a silhouette of Lord Chesterfield. There'll be a quiz at the end of the semester, so please take notes.

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