Tell No Tales (1939) DVD

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Tell No Tales (1939)


 Leslie Fenton


 Lionel Houser (screenplay), Pauline London (based on a story by)


 Melvyn Douglas, Louise Platt, Gene Lockhart 
A model of precision and economy, the MGM "B" thriller Tell No Tales represented the feature-film directorial debut of former actor Leslie Fenton. Reportedly an expansion of a "Crime Does Not Pay" 2-reeler, the story follows editor Michael Cassidy (Melvyn Douglas) as he tries to save his newspaper from being shut down by corporate fat-cat Matt Cooper (Douglass Dumbrille). Hoping to track down the perpetrators of a recent kidnapping (and thereby obtaining an "exclusive"), Cassidy illegally gets hold of one of the bills used for the ransom, tracing the bill to all its previous owners. In the course of his odyssey, Cassidy stumbles into a wake for a murdered black boxer, a haunting sequence dominated by the powerhouse performance of Theresa Harris. He also learns that the much-hated Cooper was tenously connected to the ransom bill, though the identity of the actual miscreants aren't revealed until the last two reels. Louise Platt costars as Ellen Frazier, a harried witness to the kidnapping who winds up being taken "for a ride" along with the unconscious Cassidy. Also figuring prominently in the action is gambling boss Arno (Gene Lockhart) and his weakling brother Phil (Tom Collins), not to mention musical-comedy star Lorna Travers (Florence George), the main attraction at a Policeman's benefit show (another highlight). Showing up unbilled is one Jack Carlton, later known as Clayton Moore. Tell No Tales definitely deserves to be better known.

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