12 November 2012 | Michael_Elliott
Forgettable Warner "B" Picture
Missing Witnesses (1937)
** (out of 4)
Rather boring "B" film from Warner about a D.A. (John Litel) and a tough cop (Dick Purcell) who grow tired of various witnesses backing down from testifying against some racketeers. The two set out to try and locate people who will talk and the cop knows that one woman (Jean Dale) saw a major crime so he sets out to find her. MISSING WITNESSES is one of many Warner films that was ripped from the headlines but sadly there's just very little going on here. At just over a hour there's no question that the movie remains watchable thanks in large part to it being so short and featuring a couple known stars but there's no doubt that the film's appeal is going to be very low and mainly for those, such as myself, who enjoy watching these rare films when they pop up on Turner Classic Movies. The biggest problem is the story itself, which just isn't anything we haven't already seen countless times before. The entire plot dealing with witnesses being scared to talk has been done in other films (including MGM's Crime Does Not Pay series) and nothing new is done with it here. It also doesn't help that director William Clemens doesn't bring any energy to the material and by the thirty-minute mark the film is pretty much already out of gas. As usual, Litel and Purcell offer up fine performances but neither character is written good enough to where they could save the entire picture.