J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was never one to shy away from any "favorable" publicity, and also was not adverse to making a buck or two on the side. He wrote a book, "Persons in Hiding," and had no problem acquiring a publisher (magazine and book), nor any problem finding a Hollywood studio readily willing to acquire the film rights. He made 'em an offer they couldn't refuse. Who, in their right mind, was going to say no to Mr. Hoover?
Paramount acquired the rights to "Persons in Hiding" and squeezed four films out of the book..."Persons in Hiding," "Undercover Doctor," "Queen of the Mob" and "Parole Fixer." Hoover also wrote the following message that is used up front on "Disbarred": "In the background of almost every crime is a crooked lawyer. The records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that the lawyer-criminal is the friend of the hold-up man---the confidant of bank robbers and the hub of bribery activities. He is the brains by which the underworld manages to thrive and to outwit law enforcement. This type of man deserves to be behind prison bars with his clients" (signed) J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
J. Edgar was not one for pussyfooting around the bush. So, in addition to using this message on the film, Paramount also incorporated it into the six-sheet poster---"Behind every crook is a Crooked Lawyer"-J. Edgar Hoover---and also on several of the newspaper ads, all of which varied slightly from the message Hoover wrote by leaving out qualifiers or changing the verbiage and context slightly. There is no record that Hoover ever complained to Paramout about being "misquoted." "Disbarred" then set out to prove Mr. Hoover's case against lawyers: The Bar Association disbars attorney Tyler Cradon (Otto Krueger) when it appears he was implicated in the murder of a prominent vice crusader. Cradon, not wishing to be without an income,is impressed by the way Joan Carroll (Gail Patrick) handled a small-town murder, poses as a real estate agent and offers to get her into a law firm of a friend of his. Placed in the office of Roberts (Clay Clement), running a front for Cradon, Joan is taught every trick of the trade. With her cases all prepared for her, she goes from one courtroom victory to another, soon becoming the darling of the underworld and the despair of all law-enforcing authorities. Her performances impress the young assistant district attorney, Bradley Kent (Robert Preston), and they begin a budding romance in spite of the fact that Kent criticizes her connections.
But when Roberts asks her to defend a notorious racketeer who has murdered a policeman, she realizes that Kent was right and immediately joins the district attorney's office as a deputy. Learning that the authorities are on Roberts' trail, she goes to see Cradon, whom she still believes to be a hard-working, honest real estate agent, to warn him about the kind of company he is keeping.
By accident she learns that Cradon is---oh, the horror---the worst of all human beings---a lawyer who defends criminals---and it doesn't take many more frames before the audience is delivered the message promised on the three-sheet poster from this film...The Lowdown on the Crooked Mouthpiece Racket!
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