Baby Face Morgan Cover You can screw Scarface. You can crap on Capone. And you can do whatever you like to Lucky Luciano. And do you know why? I tell you why. It's because there's a new gangster in town, and you can see him in the following 63 minute movie made in 1942. It was Directed by: Arthur Dreifuss; and Starred: Richard Cromwell, Mary Carlisle, Robert Armstrong, with Chick Chandler.

Baby Face Morgan (1942)

Excuse me, Mister Rogers (Robert Armstrong). But do you remember what we did to that chump, Edward Morgan (Richard Cromwell)? You know. Like how we tricked him into believing we're currently running a legitimate 'insurance company', when in actual fact we've made him the head of his dead father's 'protection racket'! Well, boss. I think we've made a big mistake here. And I do mean a really big mistake.

You see, the other day I heard that Edward and his cousin Olli (Chick Chandler) somehow managed to visit one of our 'clients' -- some dame called Virginia (Mary Carlisle) -- and sold her an insurance policy to cover for what we've been doing to her haulage business. And then, when she eventually claimed on her policy, he ended up paying her back the money we stole from her in the first place.

So, Mister Rogers, how are we going to get ourselves out of this mess, eh? I mean, we can't go to the police, can we? That would be ridiculous! And we can't go to the rest of the crime syndicate either, especially since we're trying to hide Edward away from them.

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all goes for broke when you tap me on my shoulder and say, 'Hey! Don't worry about a thing, Willie (Warren Hymer). Cause I'm sure Joe (Ralf Harolde) can put a stop to this situation even if we can't'.  As a private dick gets his head slapped - a fake mob-boss gets his toe-capped - a double cross jumps around like a bunny - and at the end of the day, come on punk, show me the money!

In my most humble opinion I'd say 'Baby Face Morgan' is one truly marvellous film. Honestly, my friends. It was well acted. It was well structured. And it was well funny to boot. In fact the only thing I found wrong with it was to do with the quality of its print. Because on occasion the screen was a bit blurry, making it difficult for me to read some of the spinning headlines it had on offer.

Baby Face Morgan Starring Richard Cromwell
But apart from that -- no -- I have no problem with this production at all! With hand on my heart I'd state for the record that this crime caper was a true pleasure to watch. Primarily for the reasons I've just mentioned. And secondly because its one of those farcical movies that sets up its premise, allows the actors to define their respective roles, and then gives us the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Now from a narrative point of view I'd say this tale is about a gang of jovial crooks who mistakenly hire the son of their deceased boss -- as played by Richard Cromwell -- and make him think they run a legitimate insurance company. However, after a bit of clowning around -- loved that scene where Rich and the gang tried to make up a theme tune by the way -- the son in question then tries to bolster his role by reaching out to one of his new clients -- that one being his eventual love interest, as played by Mary Carlisle. And then to make matters even more confusing, she subsequently disillusions him into pitting himself against his own 'other self' -- so to speak.  

So yeah. That's right, dear readers. It is the type of film where you get your enjoyment from the 'main lead' going astray at every given turn, thus making the general narrative even funnier to watch.

Baby Face Morgan Starring Robert Armstrong

What's more, I also have to applaud each of the actors for playing there parts very-very distinctly. Robert Armstrong played the 'under boss' with a nice air of authority about him. Chick Chandler played the discerning cousin with a fairly firm grip. Ralf Harolde was a very sinister and imposing figure who even made me wince on occasion. And as much as I loved the rest of the supporting cast -- as they really did support this movie in both tone and style -- what I loved even more were Richard and Mary, plus how they aided their roles with a very congenial and charming manner.

Baby Face Morgan Starring Mary Carlisle
Oh! Was that a bit too much, dear reader? Did my praise for this piece get a bit too lovey-dovey? Hey! Don't worry about it. As I'm sure by now you got the basic gist of what I thought about this finely funny film. So how about we all now sit back, relax, and check out the following filmic facts. (1) 'PRC' first released this production in America on the exact same day a US aircraft carrier named 'Wasp' was torpedoed near the coast of Guadalcanal. It was on the 15th of September, 1942. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Morgan The Bandit' in Italy. (3) The majority of this movie was shot at 'PRC Studios', located within the Californian state of Los Angeles. (4) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'It's a Shocker! Thriller! And a Laugh'. (5) Ten years before he directed this crime-caper, German-born Arthur Dreifuss lived in New York City, and he was a well respected dance director and theatrical producer. (6) Jack Rubin was one of three writers assigned to pen this flick, and his claim to fame was to be a writer for the 'Screen Directors Guild'. (7) Leo Erdody composed most of the music for this movie, and he was once nominated for an 'Academy Award' for his work on 'Minstrel Man'. (8) After this filmic-farce kicked can, Richard Cromwell starred in the mystery, 'Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher'; Mary Carlisle starred in the horror-movie, 'Dead Men Walk'; and Robert Armstrong starred in the filmic-short, 'The Fighting Engineers'.

Baby Face Morgan Starring Richard Cromwell And Mary Carlisle

Overall I'd say 'Baby Face Morgan' is a truly forgotten crime caper classic. Not only was it very funny to watch, but it also managed to tell a farcical adventure anyone would love to spend some time with. Even a gangster posing as an insurance salesman!

A great film. Nuff said.


BABY FACE MORGAN (1942) BABY FACE MORGAN (1942) Reviewed by David Andrews on January 21, 2015 Rating: 5
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