Night Court Film Details
Overview: Judge and his mistress are investigated on suspicions of corruption.
Tagline: Its Frankness Will Thrill You—Its Truth Hold You Breathless—
Review: When MGM released “Night Court” in 1932, its story of crooked judges and a corrupt system of justice in New York City was pulled from the newspaper headlines of the previous year. When, in the movie, cabbie Mike Thomas’s wife is set up, arrested and jailed for prostitution, that part of the story didn’t surprise New Yorkers, who had read for months of the activities of Chico Accatuna (the spelling of his last name varies), nicknamed the “human spitoona.” Just as in the movie, this unsavory character would set women up for an arrest by the vice squad. Once the woman lost her job and reputation as the result of the arrest, criminals such as Lucky Luciano would then force these women into prostitution. In this movie, Mary Thomas is sent to jail to discredit her, since she accidentally saw the bank book of the crooked Judge Moffett, played by Walter Huston. He had given it to his girlfriend when he told her to hide out while Lewis Stone’s judicial commission was investigating Moffett and others for corruption. She moved in next door to the Thomases,in a rundown walk-up rowhouse, and managed to drop the bank book (which showed tens of thousands of dollars in the judge’s secret account) into the crib of Mary’s son when she dropped by. At one point, this picture is as grim as any you will see. Mary is in jail. Her little boy is in a city foster care facility, crying his heart out. Mike, trying to spring her, goes to a lawyer who is a crony of Judge Moffet and informs the judge of Mike’s plans. Moffet, lying on a sofa, tells an associate to “get me bad boys, very bad” to take care of the troublemaker cabbie. These “bad boys” beat the cabbie to a pulp, then put him on a slow boat to South America. In a great scene, Mike later tells Moffett, now a prisoner in Mike’s apartment, about all the questions Moffett’s henchmen had asked him. Mike closes by saying they didn’t him the most important question: “Could I swim?” Audiences in 1932 must have cheered when they heard that line, delivered just right by actor Phillips Holmes. Now, “Night Court” is like a time capsule, a reflection of a world long gone. Mark Hellinger, the co-writer of the play the movie is based on, was a reporter who had first hand knowledge of the real life events he borrowed for the story. The hero in this movie is a cabbie, not a cop, a district attorney or any other government official. In this movie, except for Lewis Stone’s character, who is murdered, all the public officials you see are on the take. The movie makers didn’t identify the cop who arrested Mary Thomas as a member of the police Vice Squad. If they had, that would have dated the movie. As a result of the tremendous scandal involving Chico Accatuna and the compulsory prostition racket, the NYPD Vice Squad had a new name, the Public Morals Squad. This scandal helped get La Guardia elected Mayor and is the basis for this pre-code crime classic from MGM.
Country: United States
Duration: 92 min
Genre: Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller
Also known as: Night Court,Injustiça,Justicia,Diafthora,Justice for Sale,Sob a Máscara da Justiça,Syyttömästi tuomittu,闇の法廷,Bekänn!,Korruption