Law in Her Hands, The (1936): Clemens’ B-Level Femme-Crime Drama, Starring Margaret Lindsay and Glenda Farrell

William Clemens directed The Law in Her Hands, a minor (B-level) drama written by George Bricker and Luci Ward, starring Margaret Lindsay, Glenda Farrell, and other contract players of Warner’s stock company.

Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

The Law in Her Hands
The Law in Her Hands.jpg

Movie poster

The working title of the film was “Lawyer Woman,” centering on two femmes who open their own law practice, but after risings debt and falling income, they are forced to represent organized crime members.

Two waitresses working in New York, Mary Wentworth (Margaret Lindsay) and Dorothy Davis (Glenda Farrell), pass the bar exam and become lawyers. When their employer Franz (Al Shean) takes a picture, he accidentally photographs a gangster in the background, just before the gangster throws a smoke bomb in the restaurant. This was an effort to intimidate Franz into joining the protection racket run by Frank Gordon (Lyle Talbot).

The perpetrator is arrested and the case is prosecuted by Robert Mitchell (Warren Hull), who is Mary’s boyfriend. When a lawyer plants a bottle of liquor in a coat, Mary loses her first case in court. Hoping to discourage Mary, Robert suggests that she represent a man who has already signed a confession. Later, Mary decides to use the same trick and beats Robert in court.

She decides to take Gordon as a client and acquires reputation. When Mary learns that Gordon was responsible for the deaths of several people, she changes her mind and refuses to represent him anymore. However, Gordon forces her into defending him, and in court she deliberately gets herself disbarred from the case.

No longer his lawyer, she accuses Gordon of the murders, allowing Robert to win the case and convict Gordon.

In the end, Mary marries Robert and decides to give up her law career.

Cast

Margaret Lindsay as Mary Wentworth
Glenda Farrell as Dorothy ‘Dot’ Davis
Warren Hull as Asst. Dist. Atty. Robert Mitchell
Lyle Talbot as Frank ‘Legs’ Gordon
Eddie Acuff as Eddie O’Malley
Dick Purcell as Marty
Al Shean as Franz
Addison Richards as William McGuire
Joseph Crehan as Dist. Atty. Thomas Mallon

Credits:

Directed by William Clemens
Produced by Bryan Foy
Screenplay by George Bricker and Luci Ward, based on story by George Bricker

Music by Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography Sidney Hickox
Edited by Clarence Kolster

Production company: First National Pictures

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Release date: May 16, 1936

Running time: 58 minutes