Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Feb. 9, 2019, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 RKO film “Hell’s Highway,” with Richard Dix, Tom Brown, Rochelle Hudson, C. Henry Gordon, Oscar Apfel, Stanley Fields, John Arledge, Warner Richmond, Chas. Middleton, Louise Carter, Sandy Roth, Clarence Muse and Fuzzy  Knight. Screenplay by Samuel Ornitz, Robert Tasker and Rowland Brown. Directed by Rowland Brown. Photography by Edward Cronjager, art direction by Carroll Clark, music direction by Max Steiner, recorded by John Tribby, edited by William Hamilton, executive producer was David O. Selznick.

“Hell’s Highway” is available from Warner Archive in Volume 9 of “Forbidden Hollywood,” with “Big City Blues,” “The Cabin in the Cotton,” “When Ladies Meet” and “I Sell Anything.”

Writing in the New York Times (Sept. 26, 1932), Mordaunt Hall said:

Stealing a march on the Warner Brothers, who have so far not released their film of Robert E. Burns’s book, “I Am a Fugitive From a George Chain Gang,” with Paul Muni in the leading role, RKO Radio Pictures is now offering at the Mayfair their prison camp picture, “Hell’s Highway,” in which Richard Dix is the featured player.

In “Hell’s Highway,” the producers fail by being overeager to horrify audiences by depicting the cruel treatment of the chain gang convicts, and Mr. Dix as Duke Ellis is vehement without being really effective. Occasionally Ellis preaches about the torturing of the felons, which would be all very well if it came from an upstanding character, and not, as it does, from a bank robber. Duke Ellis also has his maudlin moments, and to make matters worse there is the romance between Johnny, Duke’s brother, who is also one of the chain gang, and an immaculately clad pretty girl from his home town.

“Hell’s Highway” has a fairly large cast and it was impossible to get everybody.

Feb. 9, 2019, Mystery Photo
Here we have supposed leading lady Rochelle Hudson, who gets very little screen time, with Louise Carter as the creepy Mrs. Ellis.

See what I mean? She’s creepy.

Feb. 9, 2019, Mystery Photo

I like to post images of people of color even if I can’t identify them, like this actor, who got one line.

If you blink, you’ll miss Louise Beavers, shown with Clarence Muse.

Feb. 9, 2019, Mystery Photo

Feb. 9, 2019, Mystery Photo
This is Eddie Hart, with Stanley Fields. Hart plays the cook, an openly gay character who is disliked by the prisoners on the chain gang. Here he is, emphasizing the word “pansy” just in case the 1930s audiences were a little slow.  Hart’s IMDB listing doesn’t even have a death date, so I’ll see if I can find one.

Feb. 4, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery gent in a reverse newsboy cap.

Update: I’m not sure who this fellow is but he isn’t John Lester Johnson. I’ll have to dig into it further.

Feb. 5, 2019, Mystery Photo
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent.

Update: This is Eddie Hart, giving a come-hither look to his fellow prisoners.

Brain Trust roll call: Mike Hawks (mystery movie). Most impressive.

Feb. 6, 2019, Mystery photo

For Wednesday, we have a mystery gent. Boy, does he not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is super villain C. Henry Gordon.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery chef), Sylvia E. (mystery era/genre) and David Inman (mystery movie).

Feb. 7, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Thursday, we have a pair of mystery gents.

Update: This is Charles Middleton (yes, Ming the Merciless) and Warner Richmond.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery chef and Wednesday’s mystery villain), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery villain), Sheila (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery villain), Don Danard (Wednesday’s mystery villain), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery villain), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery villain), Benito (Wednesday’s mystery villain), Thom and Megan (Wednesday’s mystery villain), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery chef and Wednesday’s mystery villain), David Inman (Wedneday’s mystery villain) and Dan Nather (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery villain).

Feb. 8, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have two mysterious prisoners.

Update: Finally, Tom Brown and Richard Dix.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery gents), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s Mystery Gent No. 1), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery gents), Don Danard (Thursday’s Mystery Gent No. 1), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s Mystery Gent No. 1), Dan Nather (Thursday’s Mystery Gent No. 1) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery chef and Thursday’s mystery gents).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. MIKE HAWKS says:



  2. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Eddie Hart in HELL’S HIGHWAY (1932)


  3. SylviaE says:

    Hmmm…it looks like a 1930s prison movie.

    Still on the hunt.


  4. David Inman says:

    I don’t have any actor pinpointed, but is the film “Hell’s Highway”?


  5. Mary Mallory says:

    hell’s highway. C. Henry Gordon for “Wednesday,” Eddie Hart for Tuesday, and John Lester Johnson MOnday.


  6. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    C. Henry Gordon.


  7. Sheila says:

    C. Henry Gordon, ‘Hell’s Highway’


  8. Don Danard says:

    Wednesdays Mystery Man is C. Henry Gordon.


  9. Jenny M says:

    C. Henry Gordon


  10. Jenny M says:

    Hell’s Highway


  11. MIKE HAWKS says:

    C. Henry Gordon is about to get nasty.


  12. Benito says:

    Good ol’ bad guy C. Henry Gordon today


  13. Thom and Megan says:

    C. Henry Gordon for today.


  14. SylviaE says:

    Hell’s Highway 1932
    Mon. – I think is Al Corporal (O’reese Corporal) – he’s one of the singers in the Etude Ethiopian Chorus in any case (am really interested in the Saturday breakdown on this group if you have more)
    Tues. – I think is Eddie Hart, but I’m not sure
    Weds. – C. Henry Gordon (looking suitably menacing)

    Again, really looking forward to the breakdown. This was fun.


    • SylviaE says:

      A revision on O’reese Corporal – Monday’s guy is NOT him. Not sure who he is other than being one of the singers. I just found a photo that clearly shows Corporal and Monday’s guy is sitting in front of him (in profile.) Hope that you know more.


      • SylviaE says:

        Thursday – Charles Middleton and Oscar Apfel (I think.)


      • SylviaE says:

        Just read more about the singers in the movie and how they were used in the film, in excerpts from a book called “Making Music in Selznick’s Hollywood” by Nathan Platte. I am soooo looking forward to Saturday and hearing any other information you have on the group. It was interesting to learn that one of the actors (and a singer in the group,) Clarence Muse, wrote the “Liberty Road” song.


  15. David Inman says:

    Today it’s C. Henry Gordon, aka Evil Fred Astaire.


  16. Dan Nather says:

    I’m going to guess that’s C. Henry Gordon in HELL’S HIGHWAY (1932).


  17. Sue Slutzky says:

    Is Wednesday’s guest I. Stanford Jolley? If it isn’t, they sure do look alike.


  18. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Charles Middleton, Warner Richmond.


  19. Mary Mallory says:

    Charles Middleton and John Arledge.


  20. MIKE HAWKS says:

    Charles Middleton and Warner Richmond add spice to the proceedings.


  21. Don Danard says:

    The gent on the left of the photo, I’m pretty sure, is Charles Middleton.


  22. Dan Nather says:

    Today, that’s Charles Middleton on the left, don’t know the smokey . . . I may have to watch this movie again . . .


  23. Thom and Megan says:

    Hell’s Highway is our mystery movie with Charles Middleton and Warner Richmond for today, and Eddie Hart for Tuesday.


  24. Don Danard says:

    The prisoner on the photo right is Richard Dix. Don’t know the kid.


  25. Mary Mallory says:

    Tom Brown and Richard Dix today.


  26. MIKE HAWKS says:

    Tom Brown and Richard Dix have a solemn moment.


  27. Sue Slutzky says:

    I’m going backwards: Friday: Richard Dix and Tom Brown, Thursday: Charles Middleton and Warner Richmond, Wed: C. Henry Gordon, Tuesday: Eddie Hart, Monday: I don’t know who the guy in the cap is but he’s part of the Etude Ethiopian Chorus. The movie is 1932’s Hell’s Highway.


  28. mcdee says:

    I believe we have C Henry Gordon on Wednesday. Richard Dix and and Tom Brown on Friday. Hell’s Highway from RKO in 1932.


  29. Benito says:

    Charles Middleton on Thurs, Richard Dix today. Looks like Hell’s Highway 1932. If so, can we get a peek at lovely Rochelle Hudson?


  30. SylviaE says:

    Sooo, back to Thursday – guy #2 I’m now guessing is Warner Richmond, yes?

    Friday are our star ‘inmate brothers’ Tom Brown and Richard Dix.

    Since none of the ‘ladies’ made it into the puzzle (and almost didn’t make it into the picture apparently, since their screen time is so brief) I thought it was interesting that Louise Carter appeared in both ‘Hell’s Highway’ and ‘I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang’ that year. She was very good at ‘distressed mothers’ I guess.

    This was fun. Still hoping you can find out more about the singers. I’m still trying to learn more about them.


  31. Dan Nather says:

    Tom Brown and the ever-reliable Richard Dix to finish the week. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dix give a bad performance . . .


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