Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 9, 2020, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1948 RKO picture “Fighting Father Dunne,” with Pat O’Brien, Darryl Hickman, Charles Kemper, Una O’Connor, Arthur Shields, Harry Shannon, Joe Sawyer, Anna Q. Nilsson, Donn Gift, Myrna Dell, Ruth Donnelly, Jim Nolan, Billy Cummings, Billy Gray, Eric Roberts, Gene Collins, Lester Matthews, Griff Barnett, Jason Robards (Sr.), and Rudy Whistler.

Executive producer Jack J. Gross. Screenplay by Martin Rackin and Frank Davis, story by William Rankin.

Photography by George E. Diskant, art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and Walter E. Keller, special effects by Russell A. Cully, set decorations by Darrell Silvera and Adolph Kuri, makeup by Gordon Bau.

Music by Roy Webb, musical director C. Bakaleinikoff, edited by Frederic Kundtson, sound by Frank Sarver and Terry Kellum, assistant director John Pommer, dialogue director Eugene Busch.

Produced by Phil L. Ryan.

Directed by Ted Tetzlaff.

“Fighting Father Dunne” has never been commercially released on DVD. It was issued on VHS and occasionally airs on TCM.

I picked “Fighting Father Dunne” because of Billy Gray (see last week’s post on Noel Parenti and “The Dude Goes West”) and on the basis of a review in Showmen’s Trade Review (May 15, 1948), which said:

Audience slant: This film has strong appeal for everyone, with the possible exception of super-sophisticates and violently anti-religious persons. Pat O’Brien and supporting cast are excellent. Should score in virtually any run. Will benefit from strong word-of-mouth, plus appeal of O’Brien in this type of role.

Pat O’Brien does one of the best jobs of his long career as the beneficent priest, and his supporting cast is excellent. Outstanding among the talented group of children who enact the roles of Father Dunne’s charges are Darryl Hickman as the ne’er-do-well and Donn Gift as the saintly lad. The picture has a heart-warming quality that never becomes saccharine and yet will leave most audiences with a satisfied feeling in their hearts. The picture should score in virtually any run.

Unlike “The Dude Goes West,” “Fighting Father Dunne” was reviewed in the New York Times. T.M.P. did not approve of such goings-on (June 25, 1948):

We can all do with a bit of inspiration and, apparently, that was the premise the RKO studio went on in producing “Fighting Father Dunne,” which opened yesterday at the Victoria. But it is more likely that this film, because of its patronizing approach both to its principal character and the ruffians he befriends, will militate against rather than advance the noble interest of virtue as appropriately dramatic screen material.

In a way there is a parallel between the new film and the picture made some years ago about the late Father Flannagan and his building of Boys Town, but “Fighting Father Dunne” is too weighted with sentimentalism to be effective as drama. And all the performances, starting with Pat O’Brien as the good priest and going down the line are so deliberately calculated to wrench one’s heart that they are ineffectual. Father Dunne, whom the picture aspires to honor, is deserving of a more intelligent tribute than this misguided inspirational salute.

Father Peter J. Dunne (1870-1939) was orphaned at 12,  along with his brothers and sisters. His siblings were placed in a Catholic orphans home near Kansas City, but his age “did not allow of his being admitted,” according to the St. Louis Republic (June 14, 1903). He got a job at the orphanage, where he learned reading and basic math. After his hauling business failed (one team of horses died and the other team went to pay for use of their pasture), he became a night watchman at St. Louis University. After a year, he decided to become a priest and was sent to St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kans. He entered Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., about 1898.  He was elevated to monsignor in 1927.

Note: A real-life Matt Davis (the name of Darryl Hickman’s character in the movie) who lived at Father Dunne’s home for newsboys at the time depicted in the film unsuccessfully sued RKO for $300,000 in 1948, saying that the movie falsely portrayed him as a juvenile delinquent who killed a police officer.

May 4, 2020, Mystery Photo

It’s been a while since I did a mystery lad in a newsboy cap. So here we are.

Update: This is George McDonald.

May 5, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have two mystery women. And would you believe it? They do not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Dot Farley, left, and Anne O’Neal.

May 5, 2020, Mystery Photo

And here we have some ragamuffin mystery lads, temporarily deprived of their newsboy caps.

Update: This is Billy Cummings, left, and Donn Gift.

May 6, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mystery gent. At this point in the drama, he does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Charles Kemper.

May 6, 2020, Mystery Photo
We also have this mysterious man of the cloth.

Update: This is Lester Matthews.

May 6, 2020, Mystery Photo

Finally, we have this mystery woman with a serious love of dots.

Update: This is Ruth Donnelly.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery cornetist and Tuesday’s disapproving ladies), B.J. Merholz (Tuesday’s disapproving lady No. 2).

May 7, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we will start with this mystery policeman, who has limited “Aha.”

Update: This is James Nolan.

May 7, 2020, Mystery Photo

Followed by a mystery gent with somewhat more “Aha.” Just ignore Back of the Head Priest. We’ll see him Friday.

Update: This is Jason Robards Sr. and Pat O’Brien as Back of the Head Priest.

May 7, 2020, Mystery Photo

And here’s a fellow who has some “Aha.”

Update: This is Frank Ferguson.

May 7, 2020, Mystery Photo

And finally, Mr. “Aha” himself…. Also Back of the Head Priest, who will appear Friday.

Update: This is Arthur Shields.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mysterious disapproving women and Wednesday’s mystery guests) and Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mysterious disapproving women and mysterious street urchins hiding under a sheet, and Wednesday’s mystery guests).

May 8, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have a mystery woman who does not approve of such goings-on. Also Back of the Head Priest….

Update: This is Anna Q. Nilsson and Pat O’Brien as Back of the Head Priest.

May 8, 2020, Mystery Photo

Things look grim for this mystery newsboy….

Update: This is Darryl Hickman.

May 8, 2020, Mystery Photo
And this mystery lady definitely does not approve of such goings-on….

Update: This is Una O’Connor.

May 8, 2020, Mystery Photo
Here’s a better look at our two newsboys who were hiding under a bed sheet….

Update: This is Billy Cummings and Donn Gift.

May 8, 2020, Mystery Photo
Our leading man….

Update: This is Pat O’Brien.

May 8, 2020, Mystery Photo
And finally, our mystery lad who started the whole thing.

Update: This is Billy Gray.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Priest), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery newspaper circulation manager and mystery Ulsterman), Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery undercover lad No. 1 and Thursday’s mystery guests), Michael Ryerson (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery archbishop and polka-dot mystery woman, Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Priest), Charles Kjelland (Thursday’s mystery newspaper circulation manager), Blackwing Jenny (Thursday’s mystery Ulsterman), Thom and Megan (mystery movie, Tuesday’s disapproving lady No. 1, mystery undercover lads, Wednesday’s mystery archbishop, Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Priest), Sarah (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery newspaper circulation manager and mystery Ulsterman), McDee (mystery movie and Back of the Head Priest), Sheila (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery archbishop and Thursday’s mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie), Anne Papineau (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery newspaper circulation manager and mystery Ulsterman), Gary (Thursday’s mystery Ulsterman), Sylvia E. (Tuesday’s mystery undercover lads, Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Priest).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1948, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Mary Mallory says:

    Tommy “Butch” Bond.

    Like

  2. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    FIGHTING FATHER DUNNE (1948)
    Monday: George McDonald
    Tuesday: Dot Farley, Anne O’Neal

    Like

  3. Mary Mallory says:

    Billy Halop and Frank Junior Coghlan today and Angels With Dirty Faces.

    Like

  4. B.J. Merholz says:

    Kathleen Howard and Anne O’Neal?

    Like

  5. Benito says:

    Eddie Quillen today?

    Like

  6. Sylvia E. says:

    I’m going to guess “Fighting Father Dunne” 1948.

    The images have a “Boys Town” feeling to them, but I know it isn’t that film.

    Like

  7. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Charles Kemper; Lester Mathews; Ruth Donnelly.

    Like

  8. Sylvia E. says:

    Mon – dunno (still tracking the clue you gave with Howard’s guess)
    Tues – Dot Farley and Anne O’Neal
    Weds – Charles Kemper, Lester Mathews (I think) and Ruth Donnelly

    I’m guessing that Thursday and Friday will bring Myrna Dell and James Nolan, Una O’Connor, Arthur Shields, Billy Gray, Darryl Hickman and Pat O’Brien

    Like

  9. Mary Mallory says:

    FIGHTING FATHER DUNNE. Gene Collins Monday, Dot Frley and Anne O’Neal Tuesday with Billy Cummings and Donn Gift, and Charles Kemper, Lester Matthews, and ruth Donnelly today.

    Like

  10. Mary Mallory says:

    james Nolan with Pat O’Brien at BOTH guy, Jason Robards Sr., Frank Ferguson, and Arthur Shields.

    Like

  11. Mary Mallory says:

    Lanny Rees the boy on Monday.

    Like

  12. Floyd Thursby says:

    For Thursday we have Frank Furguson and Arthur Shields. The movie is “Fighting Father Dunne.”

    Like

  13. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    James Nolan; Jason Robards Sr.; Frank Ferguson; Arthur Shields.

    Like

  14. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Undercover kids: Billy Cummings, Gene Collins.

    Like

  15. The ‘man of the cloth’ is clearly Adlai Stevenson.

    Like

  16. Well, Ellen Donnelly, Frank Ferguson, Arthur Shields and the side (and back) of Pat O’Brien’s head make this Fighting Father Dunn (1948). And Adlai Stevenson (Lester Matthews), of course.

    Like

  17. Charles Kjelland says:

    Frank Ferguson and Barry Fitzgerald today?

    Like

  18. Arthur Shields is ALL I got, for which ID I will win no awards.

    Like

  19. Thom and Megan says:

    This week’s movie is Fighting Father Dunne. The lady on the left on Tuesday is Dot Farley and the two ragamuffins are Billy Cummings and Donn Gift. The archbishop on Wednesday is Lester Matthews. For Thursday we have James Nolan, Jason Robards Sr, Frank Ferguson, Arthur Shields and back-of-the-priest Pat O’Brien.

    Like

  20. Sarah says:

    Thanks to Arthur Shield and Frank Ferguson, it’s “Fighting Father Dunn.” I guess tomorrow you’ll show Pat O’Brien!

    Like

  21. McDee says:

    BOTH Priest is Pat O’Brien as Fighting Father Dunne from 1948.

    Like

  22. Sheila says:

    Frank Ferguson, Arthur Shields, Jason Robards Sr., ‘Fighting Father Dunne’. And if that’s Lester Matthews as the archbishop, he isn’t looking his best.

    Like

  23. B.J. Merholz says:

    Fighting Father Dunne

    Like

  24. Anne Papineau says:

    Recognize Frank Ferguson and Arthur Shields. Might this be “Fighting Father Dunne”?

    Like

  25. Gary says:

    Of all those familair faces the only name that pops up is Arthur Sheilds.

    Like

  26. Sylvia E. says:

    Still dunno for Monday, but I think Tuesday’s kids may be Billy Cummings and Paul Dunn.

    Thurs. James Nolan, Jason Robards Sr., Frank Ferguson and Arthur Shields. Both BOTHGs are Pat O’Brien.

    Like

  27. Mary Mallory says:

    Anna Q. Nilsson, Darryl Hickman, Una O’Connor, Billy Cummings and Donn Gift, Pat O’Brien, and Billy gray.

    Like

  28. Mary Mallory says:

    Anna Q. Nilsson, Darryl Hickman, Una O’Connor, Billy Cummmings & donn Gift, Pat O’Brien, and Billy Gray.

    Like

  29. Friday finds Anna Q. Nillson selling canned peaches to the phlegmatic Pat O’Brien, Daryl Hickman in the calaboose, Una O’Connor just finishing the dishes, couple of salty lads peddling the Post-Dispatch, Pat O’Brien as yet another priest and finally the ever-elusive Billy Gray.

    Like

  30. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Anna Q. Nilsson, Pat O’Brien; Darryl Hickman; Una O’Connor; Billy Ciummings, Donn Gift; Billy Gray.

    Like

  31. “Fighting Father Dunne”! Directed by—a former cinematographer?! Carole Lombard’s favorite in fact. Wow. How many Fathers did O’Brien play I wonder?

    Like

  32. Gary says:

    The Fighting Father Dunne. The monday lad looks a lot like Noreen and Donna Cocoran. Is he a brother. (it is a catholic film¡ )

    Like

  33. Benito says:

    Una O’Connor of Bride of Frankenstein fame, and the ubiquitous Pat O’Brien. Probably Fighting Father Dunne 1948.

    Like

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