Million Dollar Ransom. 1934. USA. Directed by Murray Roth. Screenplay by William R. Lipman, Ben Ryan, from a story by Damon Runyon. With Edward Arnold, Mary Carlisle, Phillips Holmes. 67 min.
Star-poor Universal promoted the burly character actor Edward Arnold to leading man with this Damon Runyon Broadway tale, and the studio found its faith rewarded with Arnold’s engaging performance as a reformed bootlegger drawn back into the underworld. Phillips Holmes is the Park Avenue playboy who hires Arnold to stage his own kidnapping, taking the opportunity to fall in love with Arnold’s innocent daughter (Mary Carlisle). Horror fans will recognize the elaborate, expressionistic black-mass set from Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat, repurposed here as a nightspot appropriately named “The Angle Club.” 35mm.