AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Lady Who Dared
Alternate Title: La dama atrevida
Director: William Beaudine (Dir)
Release Date:   29 May 1931
Duration (in mins):   55 or 59
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Cast:   Billie Dove (Margaret Townsend)  
    Sidney Blackmer (Charles Townsend)  
    Conway Tearle (Jack Norton)  
    Judith Vosselli (Julianne Boone-Fleming)  
    Cosmo Kyrle Bellew (Seton Boone-Fleming)  
    Ivan Simpson (The butler)  
    Lloyd Ingraham (Farrell)  
    Mathilde Comont (Chambermaid)  

Summary: Margaret Townsend, the wife of American Vice-Counsul Charles Townsend, feels neglected because her husband spends most of his time working. To amuse herself, she accepts a dinner invitation from Julianne Boone-Fleming and her husband Seton. Jack Norton, a big-game hunter, has also been invited. Seton pretends to be drunk, and when Julianne leaves with him, Norton begins to warn Margaret that she should not have come. When he realizes he is being watched by the butler, Norton plays his part, kissing Margaret as the butler takes a picture to use for blackmail. Knowing that Norton is suspected of smuggling, Margaret returns and warns the Boone-Flemings that the Treasury agent, Farrell, suspects them of smuggling and that she is worried about the discovery of the photos. Julianne then calls Norton, one of her partners in the smuggling operation, to tell him to take the evidence with him to New York. Meanwhile, Margaret, who has been hiding in the house, snatches an envelope that she thinks contains the photos and escapes. Norton sees another envelope and pockets it. When Margaret discovers that she has the wrong envelope, she searches Norton's hotel room for the other, but Norton discovers her there and gives her the photos. He explains that he and Julianne have a child and she has threatened to expose him to their daughter unless he goes along with her plans. Margaret tells Norton of Farrell's suspicions just as the agents, including Charles, arrive to search his luggage. Margaret hides, and to protect her identity, Norton confesses to the smuggling. Margaret gets safely away and plants evidence in the Boone-Flemings' luggage before tipping off the authorities. They are arrested and face a lengthy prison sentence. At the same time that Norton is being deported, Charles tells the story to his very interested wife. 

Production Company: First National Pictures, Inc. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.)
Distribution Company: First National Pictures, Inc.  
  The Vitaphone Corp.  
Director: William Beaudine (Dir)
Writer: Kenneth J. Saunders (Story)
  Forrest Halsey (Scr version)
  Kathryn Scola (Scr version)
Photography: Tony Gaudio (Photog)
Art Direction: Anton Grot (Art dir)
Film Editor: LeRoy Stone (Ed)
Music: Erno Rapee (General mus dir)
  Leo F. Forbstein (Vitaphone orch cond)
Sound: Dolph Thomas (Rec eng)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the short story "The Whisper Market," by W. E. Scutt in Snappy Stories (18 Jan 1918).
Authors: W. E. Scutt

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
First National Pictures, Inc. 15/5/1931 dd/mm/yyyy LP2221

Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Melodrama
 
Subjects (Major): Blackmail
  Smuggling
 
Subjects (Minor): Butlers
  Diplomats
  Fatherhood
  Illegitimacy
  Neglected wives
  Self-sacrifice
  United States. Treasury Department

Note: Kenneth J. Saunders' screen story was entitled "The Devil's Playground." Although only Saunders was credited on screen, according to notes in the file on the film in the Warner Bros. collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library, the film was based on W. E. Scutt's short story. It is possible that Saunders rewrote Scutt's story so completely that he therefore was the only writer given story credit. For the Spanish-language version of this film, La dama atrevida , the setting was changed to China.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
CM   Jun 31   p. 469.
Film Daily   7 Jun 31   p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald   1-Nov-30   
New York Times   6 Jun 31   p. 16.
Variety   9 Jun 31   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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