SILVER QUEEN (1942) and THE CORPSE CAME C.O.D. (1947). Having very much enjoyed him in those, I decided to check out another Brent movie, YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER (1942), which proved to be a lively and engaging 77-minute newsroom yarn with a terrific supporting cast.
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER is a remake of HI, NELLIE! (1934) and LOVE IS ON THE AIR (1937), and it was later filmed again as THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET (1949).
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER also borrows heavily from Brent's own FRONT PAGE WOMAN (1935). FRONT PAGE WOMAN, like YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER, was based on a story by Roy Chanslor; both films open with a female reporter becoming ill and fainting while covering an execution. And for that matter, Roscoe Karns plays a photographer in both!
The story? Well, maybe it doesn't matter all that much...some nonsense about editor Brent having conflict with the publisher (Paul Harvey) and temporarily being demoted to writing the lonely hearts column, while at the same time he and his reporter girlfriend (Brenda Marshall) go after a crime boss (Eduardo Ciannelli) and black marketers.
There's a great crazy brawl in a lonely hearts club run by Gene Lockhart, which ends with Brenda Marshall -- wearing one of the most absurd hats of '40s films! -- jumping from table to table to safely escape the melee; she then waits outside, calmly touching up her makeup, as Brent and Karns are tossed out to the street. It's quite delightful.
The newsroom ambiance is wonderful, with its huge reminder signs on the walls (IS IT INTERESTING?), and the fun includes spotting young Don DeFore as one of the reporters. Charles Halton plays Brent's newsroom nemesis.
While watching I wondered, were nightclubs really ever quite as wonderful as depicted in movies like this, routinely packed with people dressed to the nines on weeknights?
And how many hat check girls lost jobs when men stopped checking hats everywhere they went?
Frank Ferguson has a few lines as a coroner. Other great faces which can be spotted in this one are Mary Field, Olin Howland, Tom Dugan, and Milton Kibbee.
The movie was shot in black and white by Tony Gaudio and James Van Trees. It was directed by directed by Jo Graham.
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER is available on a double feature DVD from the Warner Archive along with LOVE IS ON THE AIR (1937), one of the earlier versions of the story. The remake THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET (1949) is available separately from the Warner Archive, on a two-film disc with HOMICIDE (1949).
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FOREVER is also shown on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer is on the TCM website.