FERNANDO’s CORNER ~ Posted September 1st, 2016
I watched Paramount’s “The Secret Call” (1931), a fine drama, marred somewhat by an abrupt, forced and contrived sort of “happy ending.” Up till then the film was quite adult fare and pretty tense. Peggy Shannon is such a discovery; she had a huge acting talent and it is a pity that her career waned so early, missing stardom. I also read that she suffered from alcoholism and died tragically in 1941. Apparently she was regarded as difficult by Paramount (just as Nancy Carroll was, around the same time, and both actresses were used as threats or replacements for Clara Bow, oddly enough).
In this film Shannon stars as a Commissioner’s daughter whose father is framed by a crooked politician, who happens to be the father of her beau. Ms. Shannon impersonates the role of Wanda Kelly perfectly and she makes her believable. You root for this hard-boiled girl who’s gone through hell due to her father’s demise and suicide. Dick Arlen stars opposite Ms. Shannon, but his role is really secondary, although he’s fine as the nice and sort of naive son of a really crooked and twisted guy.
William B. Davidson is very good as the crooked politician and we also get Ned Sparks as a wisecracking reporter. Directed by Stuart Walker. Not to be missed by early talkies and Pre-Code fans. Good!
CineMaven’s Aside: Never heard of Miss Shannon before. Looked her up and came across this story at the Silence Is Platinum blog. Click photo:
[ “BEGGARS OF LIFE” ( 1928 ) ] [ “THUNDERBOLT” ( 1929 ) ]
[ “TOUCHDOWN!” ( 1931 ) ]
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