Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1937 MGM picture “The Last Gangster,” with Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart, Rose Stradner, Lionel Stander, Douglas Scott, John Carradine, Sidney Blackmer, Grant Mitchell, Edward S. Brophy, Alan Baxter, Frank Conroy and Louise Beavers.

Screenplay by John Lee Mahn. Original story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson.

Directed by Edward Ludwig.

Musical score by Edward Ward, sound by Douglas Shearer, art direction by Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart and Edwin B. Willis. Gowns by Adrian, photography by William Daniels. Montages by Slavko Vorkapich, edited by Ben Lewis.

“The Last Gangster” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Brain Trust member Noir Allie requested a movie from the 1930s – not a musical or a Western and no leprechauns – so I went through the trades looking a well-reviewed movie from the 1930s that was rather obscure and in the Daily Mirror vault. The result was “The Last Gangster.” In the reviews, “The Last Gangster” was positioned as a bookend to the genre, beginning with Edward G. Robinson in “Little Caesar” and ending with “The Last Gangster.” Of course, it didn’t end the era of the gangster picture, but they couldn’t have known that.

Side note: Eddie Muller offers an interesting theory that film noir grew out of the gangster and “crime does not pay” films of the 1930s and that seems reasonable to me. The documentary “Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light” (2006) is good look at film noir and its origins.

Motion Picture Daily (Nov. 9, 1937) said:

If “The Last Gangster” by any chance brings to a conclusion the long cycle of films of that nature, it does so in a melodramatic and thrilling manner that will register effectively at the box office. Here Edward G. Robinson portrays a super-egotistical and self-styled underworld Napoleon. He is a racketeer first and a convict later. His hardboiled characterization, at first, is entirely without restraint, but later, when he is helpless in Alcatraz on an income tax evasion rap, he gives a memorable portrait of near-insanity. The story mingles the reliable hokum with a domestic problem. It is also heavily shadowed with the underworld. The casting of the principal and supporting players permits Rose Stradner, James Stewart, Lionel Stander, Douglas Scott and John Carradine the opportunity to deliver first-rate characterizations. The story is a timely yarn, gruesome, realistic and as uncompromising in action as many of its characters.

Harrison’s Reports (Nov. 27, 1939) said:

A powerful gangster melodrama; it should thrill patrons who go in for this type of entertainment. It is, however, pretty strong fare, with little comedy relief. There are scenes of torture, perpetrated by gangsters on Robinson, their former leader, that send shudders through one. Equally disturbing are the scenes at Alcatraz Prison, where Robinson, a prisoner, is tortured by Carradine, another prisoner, who had taken a fiendish delight in hurting him.

And now, let’s see which New York Times critic hated it….

Why it’s Frank S. Nugent (Dec. 10, 1937):

One misses the Warner trademark on the new film at the Capitol. Had the Warners been doing it, it would have read: Mr. Edward G. Robinson in “The Life of the Last Gangster,” but Metro has done it and the title simply reads “The Last Gangster,” which suggests merely that it is a fairly interesting melodrama dedicated to the Gilbert and Sullivan principle that when a felon’s not engaged in his felonious employment he loves to lie a-basking in the sun. Only in this case it is the “son,” for Mr. Robinson’s crime lord is a natural family-man with a warped desire to create a Public Enemy No. One Jr.

Dec. 7, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery tot.

Update: This is Larry Sims, being held by James Stewart. They also appeared together in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Dec. 8, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have a mystery newsboy.

I’m a sucker for newsboys and newsboy caps in old movies. This time we have Fred Graham.

Dec. 8, 2020, Mystery Photo

We also have these two mysterious ladies, plus a slot machine.

Update: Our mystery floozy on the left is Shirley Chambers. Her floozy companion is Priscilla Lawson.

Dec. 8, 2020, Mystery Photo
And finally, we have this mystery gentleman. He does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: We have a reporter with a press pass stuck in his hat band. Seriously? Our mystery ambassador is Frederick Vogeding.

Brain Trust roll call: Bob Hansen (Monday’s mystery tot) and Sylvia E. (Monday’s mystery tot).

Dec. 9, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have another mystery newsboy.

Update: This mystery newsboy is William “Billy” Benedict, but he’s not an office boy, as he appears on IMDB.

Dec. 9, 2020, Mystery Photo

We also have this cheerful mystery guest.

Update: This is friendly warden Grant Mitchell. The guard on the left is Orville Caldwell.

Dec. 9, 2020, Mystery Photo

And finally, we have this mystery gent. He does not approve of such goings-on. But he knows how to wear a hat.

Update: This is Alan Baxter.

Brain Trust roll call: Sylvia E. (mystery movie, owner of mystery hands holding Monday’s mystery tot, Tuesday’s mystery newsboy and mystery floozy), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery tot, owner of mysterious hands holding mystery tot,  Tuesday’s mystery floozy and mysterious ambassador being interviewed by reporters).

Note to David Inman: You’re partly right, so I’ll give you half-credit on the mystery tot.

Dec. 10, 2020, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have these somewhat mysterious convicts.

Update: This is Edward Brophy in one of his many roles as a dim but likeable tough guy.

Dec. 10, 2020, Mystery Photo

We also have this mystery gent.

Update: This is Lionel Stander in “OK, boss” mode.

Dec. 10, 2020, Mystery Photo

And finally, we have this mystery convict. His companion has been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness and will appear Friday.

Update: For Friday, we have our mystery prisoner. He does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is the John Carradine pre-“Stagecoach” and “Grapes of Wrath.” With an unhappy Edward G. Robinson.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery tot and owner of mystery hands, Tuesday’s mystery floozy, mystery reporters, Wednesday’s mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery warden), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery tot, Tuesday mystery floozy,  Wednesday’s mystery warden and mystery gangster seeking revenge), David Inman (Wednesday’s mystery warden), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie), Sheila (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge), Anne Papineau (Wednesday’s mystery warden), Blackwing Jenny (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery tot and Wednesday’s mystery warden), Dan Nather (Wednesday’s mystery warden), Megan and Thom (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery tot, Tuesday’s mystery floozy and mystery ambassador, Wednesday’s mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge),  Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery tot, Tuesday’s mystery newsboy and mystery floozies, Wednesday’s mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery newsboy, mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge) and Roget-L.A. (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery newsboy, mystery warden and mystery gangster out for revenge).

Dec. 11, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have a mystery youth.

Update: This is Douglas Scott.

Dec. 11, 2020, Mystery Photo

We also have this mystery leading lady.

Update: This is Rose Stradner in her screen debut. To those who credited me for selecting “The Last Gangster” because of Stradner’s connection to Joe Mankiewicz and “Mank,” alas, it is mere coincidence. Or dumb luck.

Dec. 11, 2020, Mystery Photo

A pair of mystery folks.

Update: This is James Stewart and Louise Beavers.

Dec. 11, 2020, Mystery Photo

And finally….

Update: Edward G. Robinson with Lionel Stander as Back of the Head Guy.

Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mary Mallory (Tuesday’s mystery ambassador, Wednesday’s mystery newsboy and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Chrisbo (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery warden and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (Tuesday’s mystery ambassador, Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Noir Allie (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery prisoner No. 1), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast), Gary (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery prisoner No. 2), Benito (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery guests and future mystery appearances), David Inman (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Roget-L.A. (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1937, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Mary Malory says:

    Baby Sandy.


  2. Gary says:

    I have a hunch WC Fields figures into this.


  3. Bob Hansen says:

    I believe that’s Larry Simms, who went on to play Baby Dumpling/Alexander in the Blondie movies. I don’t know this movie though.


  4. Dan Nather says:

    I gotta guess — could it be MARY STEVENS, MD? (Or some other Warner Bros. picture?)


  5. Sylvia E. says:

    Larry Sims

    I’m sure it is not, hair’s too curly, but you never know.


  6. David Inman says:

    The kid has been/is about to be kidnapped. That’s all I’ve got.


  7. Sylvia E. says:


    Is the movie “The Last Gangster” 1937?
    If it is, what a cast.


  8. mike hawks says:

    Larry Simms held high by James Stewart, Shirley Chambers and Frederick Vogeding in THE LAST GANGSTER.


  9. Sylvia E. says:

    I’m going guess that the ‘cropped for lack of mysteriousness’ owner of the hands holding up little Larry in image#1, belong to James Stewart (little Larry’s future screen Dad in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’)

    Image#3 – the blonde is Shirley Chambers. Is BOTHW Rosa Stradner? (My guess is that the setting is in Reno, as her character awaits her divorce.)

    Image#2 – the news guy is Fred Graham

    There are a LOT of reporters in this movie, but I’ll take a shot that the ones in image #4 are Hal Craig and Frank Du Frane, but I’m not sure.


  10. Mary Mallory says:

    THE LAST GANGSTER. Larry Sims Monday with Jimmy Stewart’s hands, Shirley Chambers and Priscilla Lawson in the club, Hal Craig and Phillip Terry interviewing Frank Conroy on Tuesday, a heavy Grant Mitchell as warden, and Alan Baxter today. did you pick this for the connection to Joseph Mankiewicz, since our female star, Rose Stradner, was his wife and later committed suicide.


  11. Mary Mallory says:

    Orville Caldwell as the guard to the left of Mitchell in the photo, with him outside the bars.


  12. Floyd Thursby says:

    Mr. Wednesday is Grant Mitchell. The movie is “The Last Gangster.”


  13. tucsonbarbara says:

    Larry Simms on Monday? Grant Mitchell on Wednesday?

    Is the movie “The Last Gangster?”


  14. David Inman says:

    Grant Mitchell today.


  15. mike hawks says:

    #2 Grant Mitchell, #3 Alan Baxter.


  16. B.J. Merholz says:

    I don’t know. It looks like a warden and a sleazy gangster today so I’m guessing The Last Gangster.


  17. sheila says:

    Grant Mitchell and Alan Baxter for Wednesday, ‘The Last Gangster’?


  18. Anne Papineau says:

    Well, on Wednesday I recognize Grant Mitchell. Is this “The Secret Bride?”


  19. That’s my old pal Grant Mitchell looking grim; Larry Simms is the angelic blonde kid: “The Last Gangster”, 1937-the year was my first guess based on the ladies’ looks-jackpot!


  20. Dan Nather says:

    I think today’s cheerful mystery gent is Grant Mitchell.


  21. Megan and Thom says:

    Our mystery movie is The Last Gangster. For today, we have Grant Mitchell and Alan Baxter. For Tuesday, we have Shirley Chambers and Frederick Vogeding, and Monday’s guest is Larry Simms.


  22. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Monday: Larry Simms
    Tuesday: Fred Graham; Shirley Chambers, Priscilla Lawson
    Wednesday: Grant Mitchell; Alan Baxter


  23. Sylvia E. says:

    I think image 1 has Billy Benedict, image 2’s warden, Grant Mitchell and image 3 has Alan Baxter.

    Is Tuesday’s interviewee Sid Gorman?


  24. Rogét-L.A. says:

    William ‘Billy’ Benedict, Grant Mitchell and Alan Baxter in The Last Gangster (1937)


  25. tucsonbarbara says:

    Also, Shirley Chambers and Alan Baxter


  26. tucsonbarbara says:

    Edward Brophy, Al Hill, Lionel Stander, and John Carradine


  27. Mary Mallory says:

    Tuesday the mystery floozy is Mary Dees and the ambassador is Frederick Vogerding, Wednesday’s newsboy is Billy Benedict, and today we have Edward Brophy, Lionel Stander, and John Carradine, with EGR hidden from view.


  28. mike hawks says:

    Ed Brophy, Al Hill, Lionel Stander and John Carradine.


  29. Chrisbo says:

    Is that Ed Brophy, Lionel Stander and John Carradine in The Last Gangster? And Grant Mitchell as the cheerful Warden on Wednesday?


  30. Sylvia E. says:

    Thursday – Edward Brophy (not sure who the other guy is, tho he looks familiar), Lionel Stander and John Carradine.


  31. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Ed Brophy; Lionel Stander; John Carradine.


  32. Allie Francis says:

    Is the Thursday guy Edward Brophy?


  33. Allie says:

    The Last Gangster


  34. LC says:

    The Last Gangster (1937) Baby is Larry Simms, Edward G. Robinson, James Stewart, Lionel Stander, Edward Brophy, John Carradine, Grant Mitchell…


  35. Gary says:

    John Carradine in The Last Gangster.


  36. Benito says:

    Edward Brophy, Lionel Stander and John Carradine in THE LAST GANGSTER 1937. Jimmy and Eddie G up next


  37. David Inman says:

    Edward Brophy, John Carradine and Lionel Stander today, making this “The Last Gangster.”


  38. Sylvia E. says:

    The Ambassador is Frederick Vogeding (great name!)


  39. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Edward Brophy, mystery convict, Lionel Stander and John Carradine in The Last Gangster (1937)


  40. Sylvia E. says:

    Friday – Douglas Scott (the older version of toddler Larry.) Rosa Stradner, James Stewart and Louise Beavers, Edward G. Robinson.

    Looking forward to the breakdown on Saturday.


  41. Mary Mallory says:

    Douglas Scott, rose Stradner, Jimmy Stewart and Louise Beavers, and Edward G. Robinson. How did I not get the Tuesday girls? I’ve listed all of the girls listed in the redits.


  42. tucsonbarbara says:

    Douglas Scott, Rose Stradner, James Stewart, Louise Beavers, and Edward G. Robinson


  43. mike hawks says:

    Douglas Scott, Rose Stradner, James Stewart, Louise Beavers and Mr. Edward G. Robinson.


  44. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Douglas Scott; Rose Stradner; James Stewart, Louise Beavers; Edward G. Robinson.


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