Society Lawyer (1939)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Music, Mystery

Society Lawyer (1939) Poster

Society lawyer Christopher Durant agrees to defend his friend Phil Siddall when Siddall is arrested for the murder of an ex-girlfriend. With the help of nightclub singer Pat Abbott and ... See full summary »

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11 September 2015 | blanche-2
| remake of Penthouse, and don't think about it too much
"Society Lawyer" is a B movie from MGM, and a remake of the precode "Penthouse" with Myrna Loy and Warner Baxter. This time around it stars Walter Pidgeon and Virginia Bruce. Other roles are played by Lee Bowman, Leo Carrillo, Eduardo Cianelli, and Herbert Mundin.

Pidgeon plays a lawyer Christopher Durant, who works in a prestigious law firm, but he has a penchant for the lower criminal classes and is able to get mobster Tony Gazotti (Carrillo) found not guilty of a charge. Gazotti, who calls Durant "sweetheart" is deeply indebted to him.

Christopher and his fiancé Sue (Frances Mercer) break up; she has fallen for his friend, Phil Siddall (Bowman). The two part amicably.

Siddall winds up arrested for murder of his ex-girlfriend Judy Barton, which is the weakest part of the story. For some reason, she calls him and asks to meet him, just so she can tell him off - and he goes! A shot is fired, which Siddall thinks is a backfire, and then he notices she is bleeding. A gun lands at his feet, and he picks it up.

Sue asks Christopher for his help, and he turns to Gazotti for the lowdown on people who might be involved. He introduces Christopher to a nightclub singer, Pat Abbott (Bruce) who lived in the same building as Judy and knows some of the characters.

Pidgeon does a good, relaxed job, even if he's a little too high class for the perps he likes to defend. Herbert Mundin is very funny as the butler in his last film, as he died in a car accident after the movie completed. Virginia Bruce is lovely with a bright, upbeat presence. Eduardo Ciannelli is his usual gangster self. Ciannelli was an interesting person - he was an international opera star who became an actor and starred in a number of plays before hitting the movies.

Entertaining mostly due to the acting.

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