“What Price Crime”

May 23, 2008

It’s amazing how different the film industry was in 1935. For example, this was Charley’s 30th film in 5 years, and he was the lead or supporting lead in all 30. Can you imagine an actor doing that sort of work these days, outside of porn?

On top of that, one would still consider Charley a new-comer, at the very beginning of his career. After 30 films! What a difference a couple of decades make….

The Department of Justice has sent Alan Grey to town to help investigate a band of robbers who are stealing munitions and selling them over the border. Alan goes undercover as a prizefighter to get info on Worthington, the gang’s leader, a nightclub owner who dabbles in prizefighting.

As a boxer, Charley is no cowboy. The ringman lists Knockout Grey as “174 pounds” but he looks pudgy next to Al Baffert who’s probably done a few rounds in the ring before. Charley hadn’t perfected that Durango Kid roundhouse punch yet either; he looks like he’s flailing around.

He does look good in a tuxedo, however.

Love interest is Worthington’s sister, Sandra. They meet cute — actually running into each other in their cars. Later, Sandra identifies Charley as one of the fighters at a bout she’s seeing with her brother.

Worthington: “By the Third Round, Grey will be kissing the canvas!”

Sandra: “Lucky canvas…”

I know Charley played football at Dartmouth, but I don’t know what position. After watching him lob “gas bombs” into a robber’s den, I’m pretty sure he didn’t play quarterback.

Charley uses some gangster slang in this film that I’ve never come across before. Boyfriends, n., gangster slang for one’s co-conspirators in crime. ie., “Maybe I’ll be able to signal you, without my boyfriends getting wise.”

I would love to know where this was shot. If anyone knows, please use the comments section to fill us in. Barzoni’s hideout is at 1756 Camrose Avenue, if that helps any.

Fred “Snowflake” Toones has a very small part, saying “Good fight, Knockout!” in the locker room.