AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Let Us Live
Director: John Brahm (Dir)
Release Date:   28 Feb 1939
Production Date:   25 Nov 1938--7 Jan 1939
Duration (in mins):   68
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Maureen O'Sullivan (Mary Roberts)  
    Henry Fonda ("Brick" Tennant)  
    Ralph Bellamy (Lieutenant Everett)  
    Alan Baxter (Joe Linden)  
    Stanley Ridges (District Attorney)  
    Henry Kolker (Chief of police)  
    Peter Lynn (Joe Taylor)  
    George Douglas (Ed Walsh)  
    Philip Trent (Frank Burke)  
    Martin Spellman (Jimmy Dugan)  
    Charles Trowbridge (Judge)  
    Dick Elliott (Rotarian juror)  
    Alec Craig (Bookkeeper juror)  
    Harry Holman (Businessman juror)  
    Byron Foulger (Defense attorney)  
    Arthur Loft (Warden)  
    Emmett Vogan (Bank cashier)  
    Harry Bradley (Driver)  
    Joe De Stefani (Dentist juror)  
    Sharon Lewis (Buyer juror)  
    Betty Farrington (Mother juror)  
    Al Herman (Garage attendant juror)  
    Billy Lee (Public accountant juror)  
    Jessie Perry (Head of P. T. A. juror)  
    Phil Dunham (Nervous man juror)  
    Harry Bailey (Drug clerk juror)  
    John Qualen (Dan)  
    Ralph Remley (Bill Henderson)  
    Joe King (Commissioner Cavanaugh)  
    William V. Mong (Joe Taylor, Sr.)  
    Forrester Harvey (Alf)  
    Ian MacLaren (Priest)  
    Clarence Wilson (Lunch room proprietor)  
    Ray Walker (Fred Robinson)  
    Charles Lane (Auto salesman)  
    Beatrice Curtis (Waitress)  
    Eddie Laughton (Cab driver)  
    Frank Yaconelli (Cab driver)  
    Marshall Ruth (Cab driver)  
    Ann Doran (Secretary juror)  
    Dick Curtis (First cell mate)  
    Ted Oliver (Detective)  
    Monte Vandergrift (Detective)  
    Dick Jensen (Detective)  
    Carl Faulkner (Detective)  
    James Blaine (Detective)  
    Herbert Heywood (Theater watchman)  
    Walter Soderling (Janitor)  
    Billy Wayne (Electrician)  
    Ethel Wales (Ella)  
    Sam McDaniel (Mose)  
    Mary Foy (Maggie)  
    Jack Clifford (Police sergeant)  
    Herbert Ashley (Sam)  
    James Burtis (Mike)  
    Norman Ainsley (Hotel clerk)  
    Ted Thompson (Assistant manager)  
    Pat O'Malley (Police captain)  
    Chuck Hamilton (Bailiff)  
    Tom Mahoney (Bailiff)  
    Milt Kibbee (Hardware store proprietor)  
    Philip Morris (Cop)  
    Lee Prather (Cop)  
    Lee Phelps (Cop)  
    Robert Homans (Cop)  
    Dick Rush (Cop)  
    Bruce Mitchell (Cop)  
    Mike Pat Donovan (Cop)  
    Eric Alden (Cop)  
    Robert Walker (Cop)  
    Earl Askam (Prison guard)  
    William H. Royle (Prison guard)  
    Josef Forte (Prison doctor)  
    Kernan Cripps (Desk sergeant)  
    Ed Peil Sr. (Bank attendant)  
    Arthur Stuart Hull (Crandall)  
    Wright Kramer (Judge)  
    Charles McAvoy (Jail guard)  
    George Chesebro (Jail guard)  
    Sammy Blum (Chef)  
    Harry Bernard (Auto show watchman)  
    Eddie Hearn (Carson)  
    Eddie Cobb (Blair)  
    Frank Fanning (Detective Brown)  
    Harry Hollingsworth (Detective Stone)  
    Brady Kline (Detective Hennessey)  
    Charles Colean (Projectionist)  
    Tom London (Police sergeant)  
    Lillian West (District attorney's secretary)  
    Lee Shumway (Warden's attendant)  
    George Taylor (Cell mate #2)  
    Kit Guard (Cell mate #7)  
    Ernie Adams (Mechanic)  
    Stanley Mack    
    Cy Ring    
    Fay Holderness    
    Ernie Shield    
    Gus Reed    
    Dick Cramer    
    Joe Bernard    
    Ray Stewart    
    Bessie Wade    

Summary: On the eve of his marriage to waitress Mary Roberts, taxi driver "Brick" Tennant is questioned as a murder suspect along with 120 other drivers, because a taxi served as the getaway car in a theater robbery in which a man was killed. When one of the witnesses swears that Brick and his hapless friend, Joe Linden, were the killers, the district attorney, eager for a conviction, brings the taxi drivers to trial even though Brick and Mary were in a church when the robbery took place. Although innocent, Brick and Joe are found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair. Mary, however, refuses to give up hope, and when she unearths a bullet from another robbery that was shot from the murder weapon, she convinces Lieutenant Everett of the police department that the wrong men have been convicted. After the district attorney refuses a stay of execution, Everett, now suspended from the force, joins Mary in her search for the high-speed cab that was driven in the hold-up. As the time of his execution approaches, Brick is transformed from an idealistic youth into a man whose faith in the system has been shattered. On the day of the execution, Mary and Everett finally find the cab, which leads them to the real murderers. The governor then pardons Brick, but although his life has been spared, his faith can never be repaired. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.  
Director: John Brahm (Dir)
  William Mull (Asst dir)
Producer: William Perlberg (Prod)
Writer: Anthony Veiller (Scr)
  Allen Rivkin (Scr)
  Joseph F. Dinneen (Story)
Photography: Lucien Ballard (Photog)
Art Direction: Lionel Banks (Art dir)
Film Editor: Al Clark (Film ed)
Costumes: Kalloch (Gowns)
Music: M. W. Stoloff (Mus dir)
  Karol Rathaus (Mus)
Sound: George Cooper (Sd)
  Percy Townsend (Sd)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd. 17/2/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8651

PCA NO: 4929
Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Disillusionment
  False arrests
  Murder
  Taxicab drivers
 
Subjects (Minor): District attorneys
  Executions
  Governors
  Pardons
  Police
  Prisons
  Robbery
  Theaters
  Trials

Note: According to the Var review, this film was based on a 1932 incident in which two Boston cab drivers were wrongly accused of the murder of a theater employee. HR news items add Brandon Tynan, James Burton and Landers Stevens to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Let Us Live marked the final feature film appearance of character actor, director and writer William V. Mong (1875--1940), who began his career in early silent films. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   15 Feb 39   p. 3.
Film Daily   20 Feb 39   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Nov 38   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Dec 38   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Dec 38   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Dec 38   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Feb 39   p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily   21 Feb 39   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald   18 Feb 39   pp. 42-43.
New York Times   30 Mar 39   p. 19.
Variety   22 Feb 39   p. 12.

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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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