Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Dec. 18, 2021, Main Title of Captive City, with letters and a desk pad in the background. In the center is a government report on organized crime.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 film The Captive City, with John Forsythe, Joan Camden, Harold J. Kennedy, Marjorie Crossland, Victor Sutherland, Ray Teal, Martin Milner, Geraldine Hall, Hal K. Dawson, Ian Wolfe, Gladys Hurlbut, Jess Kirkpatrick and Sen. Estes Kefauver.

harrisonsreports00harr_0_0059Screenplay by Karl Kamb and Alvin M. Josephy Jr. Story by Alvin M. Josephy Jr.

Music by Jerold Moross. Musical direction by Emil Newman.

Photography by Lee Garmes. Photographed by The Hoge Lenses.

Assistant to director Ralph Hoge. Designed by Maurice Zuberano. Edited by Robert Swink. Sound supervision by James G. Stewart. Sound by Tom Carmon. Photographic effects by William Reinhold. Assistant director Ivan Volkman. Casting director Jack Baur.

Produced by Theron Warth.

Directed by Robert Wise.

The Captive City is on backorder at TCM and available via streaming at Amazon.


I chose The Captive City by going through the trades for 1952 and looking for a film that got good reviews. I thought I needed to atone for last week’s dismal A Majority of One. Fortunately, The Captive City is a first-rate film, and is in the same vein as The Phenix City Story (1955).

More on the history of the film is available from the AFI catalog.

Because this was an independent film, I’m guessing the New York Times sent a second-stringer to review it rather than Bosley Crowther. Possibly A.W. (Abe Weiler). I’m guessing it got a fairly good review. Let’s see.

Wrong on both counts! It’s Bosley himself and he hated it or at least did not approve of such goings-on (March 27, 1952):

If Senator Estes Kefavuer and his committee to investigate crime accomplished no more with the big show of disclosures that they put on last year, they certainly inspired a renascence of crime-crusading films. The Hollywood big boys and the small fry have been tumbling all over themselves turning out melodramas about the exposing of criminal overlords. Latest to smash onto Broadway is The Captive City, a crisp little film that comes equipped with an epilogic blessing of the senator himself. It hit the Criterion yesterday.

…But somewhere along about the middle of all these goings-on, an alert and knowing observer may spot some provoking holes. He may wonder, for instance, why the editor needs more pertinent and shocking evidence to lay before the public than a sequence of local crimes — the death of a private investigator, an attack upon a newspaper man who had photographed the “big shot” in the city and the murder of a woman witness who was about to talk.

In their screenplay, Karl Kamb and Alvin Josephy Jr. have almost completely overlooked the factor of public opinion and have let their editor behave as though he could not tell his story, though publishing a paper every day. For the sake of suspense in their picture, they have strangely isolated their man. The flaw in their screen playwriting is that they have fouled their hero in his newspaper work. Running to Senator Kefauver seems a weak and foolish thing for him to do.

Dec. 13, 2021, Mystery Photo, a woman in uniform at a laundromat. Customers wait in the background and there's an old-fashioned Coke machine near the window
For Monday, we have a mystery woman.

Update: This is Marjorie Crossland.

Dec. 14, 2021, Mystery Photo, close shot of a man in a hat talking on the phone in a diner
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent.

Update: This is Victor Sutherland.

Note to Sylvia: You’re right!

Dec. 15, 2021, Mystery Photo, a small newspaper office in the early 1950s. The fashion editor is smartly dressed for her era.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery woman.

Update: This is Gladys Hurlbut.

Dec. 16, 2021, Mystery Photo, the small town police chief in shirt sleeves and a tie explains that there's no need for newspaperman John Forsythe to go around investigating possible vice crimes in the city
For “Aha Thursday,” we have a mystery gent, and Back of the Head Guy.

Update: This is Ray Teal with John Forsythe as Back of the Head Guy.

Dec. 16, 2021, Mystery Photo, U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver, a man in glasses, suit and tie wearing fashions of the early 1950s
We also have this mysterious gent.

Update: This is Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.)

Dec. 16, 2021, Mystery Photo, Shadowy night picture of actors talking in the front seat of a car
And finally, this mystery gent. His companion has been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness and will appear Friday.

Update: Adding mysterious leading man.

Update: This is Martin Milner and John Forsythe.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests).

Note to David: You will definitely want to see this movie. It’s a good one. Note to Sylvia: They are glue pots, used to paste together “takes” of stories written on paper. Very old school.

Dec. 17, 2021, Mystery Photo, John Forsythe dictates into a tape recorder as his concerned wife and a police sergeant listen
For Friday, we have our mysterious leading couple and a mystery police officer.

Update: This is John Forsythe, Joan Camden and Paul Brinegar.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Sarah (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Benito (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests Nos. 1 and 3), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Beach Gal (mystery movie, all mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Funky PhD (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery woman, Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Alexa (mystery movie), Gary (Thursday’s mysterious future TV cop), Earl Boebert (mystery movie and Thursday’s mysterious future TV cop), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests Nos. 1 and 3), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery gent and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mark G. (Thursday’s mysterious future TV cop), Michael Ryerson (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sheila (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery gents Nos. 1 and 3) and Sylvia (mystery movie, mystery director and mystery cast).

Note to Howard Mandelbaum, Benito, Michael Ryerson and Sylvia: You all ended up in my spam folder, which is some sort of record. Thanks for your patience!

About lmharnisch

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

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

  1. Looks vaguely like Ellen Corby. But, by the same token, the lady back left reading the newspaper looks vaguely like my Aunt Marge, so there’s that.


  2. Sylvia E. says:

    No guesses other than it looks like the setting is inside a laundry mat.


  3. B.J. Merholz says:

    It’s either Addison Richards or that other guy.


  4. Mary Mallory says:

    CAPTIVE CITY. This is a good film, the Film Noir Festival showed it a few years ago. Marjorie Crossland Monday, Hal K. Dawson yesterday, and Gladys Hurlbut today.


  5. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Monday: Marjorie Crossland
    Tuesday: Hal K. Dawson
    Wednesday: Gladys Hurlbut


  6. David Inman says:

    I don’t know any of the mystery people or the name of this movie, but I want to see it.


  7. B.J. Merholz says:

    Evelyn Varden in Pinky. Unless it’s that other gal.


  8. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Monday: Marjorie Crossland
    Tuesday: Hal K. Dawson
    Wednesday: Gladys Hurlbut


  9. Sylvia E. says:

    I have no idea.

    A laundry mat, a public dining room and a newsroom w/a focus on the society desk. Larry, you must have an answer to my question: why does everyone have a jar of paste on their desk? I know you don’t go back that far in your newsroom experience, but maybe you know the history. I’m so looking forward to finding out what your Saturday background says.


  10. Mary mallory says:

    John Forsythe as BOTH guy and Ray Teal, Estes Kefauver, and Martin Milner.


  11. Sarah says:

    It’s “The Captive City.” Martin Milner, Ray Teal, and Estes Kefauver. [Editorial note:] We need some of the same bravery shown by the hero in this movie right now!


  12. Benito says:

    Martin Milner and Ray Teal, guess its CAPTIVE CITY 1952


  13. Benito says:

    Martin Milner and Ray Teal in CAPTIVE CITY 1952


  14. tucsonbarbara says:

    The Captive City

    Mon – Marjorie Crossland
    Tues – Charles Wagenheim
    Wed – Gladys Hurlbut
    Thurs – Ray Teal, John Forsythe, Estes Kefauver, Martin Milner


  15. Diane Ely says:

    “Aha Thursday” mystery gent (the one talking to Back of the Head Guy) – Cliff Norton?


  16. beachgal says:

    Thurs #1 is Ray Teal
    Thurs #2 is Estes Kefauver
    Thurs #3 is Martin Milner
    Our movie is The Captive City
    Wed I think is Gladys Hurlbut
    Monday – I think is Marjorie Cross land


  17. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    John Forsythe, Ray Teal; Estes Kefauver; Martin Milner.


  18. FunkyPhD says:

    Martin Milner, Estes Kefauver, Ray Teal, and Gladys Hurlbut in The Captive City. BOTH guy is John Forsythe.


  19. Alexa says:

    The Captive City


  20. Gary says:

    Martin Milner. Is this Sweet Smell of…?


  21. Earl Boebert says:

    Martin Milner Thursday in “The Captive City?”


  22. B.J. Merholz says:

    It’s either Ray Teal and Martin Milner in The Captive City or the other two guys in the other movie.


  23. mike hawks says:

    Hal Dawson, Ray Teal, John Forsythe, Martin Milner and Estes Kefauver in CAPTIVE CITY.


  24. Mark G. says:

    Is Thursday’s third mystery gent Martin Milner? “One-Adam-12, One-Adam-12, see the man…”!


  25. Mary Mallory says:

    Love those Fiestaware pitchers in the diner.


  26. Well, Ray Teal and Martin Milner make this The Captive City (1952). Shining the light on Gladys Hurlbut and Estes Kefauver(!).


  27. Sheila says:

    Ray Teal and Martin Milner, ‘The Captive City’?


  28. Sylvia E. says:

    Woo-hoo for “aha Thursday”. Thanks for the glue pot info.

    “The Captive City” 1952
    Directed by Robert Wise
    John Forsythe, Joan Camden, J. Kirkpatrick, Martin Milner, Ray Teal, Gladys Hurlbut, Charles Wagenheim, Senator Estes Kefauver.


  29. Mary Mallory says:

    John Forsythe on Thursday and today, Joan Camden, and Paul Brinegar.


  30. beachgal says:

    For Fri – add on to Thurs Martin Milner is lead actor, John Forsythe.
    Fri – John Forsythe, Joan Camden and I think our police Sgt is Paul Brinegar


  31. tucsonbarbara says:

    John Forsythe, Paul Brinegar, Joan Camden


  32. Friday brings us John Forsythe chatting with a youthful Martin Milner in the convertible, then Forsythe speaking into the tape recorder with a concerned Joan Camden and Paul Brinegar looking on. Will make an effort to find this film, looks like its right up my dark alley.


  33. Gary says:

    The Captive City.


  34. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Martin Milner, John Forsythe; J.F., Paul Brinegar Joan Camden.


  35. mike hawks says:

    Joan Camden, John Forsyth and Paul Brinegar.


  36. Mark G. says:

    I believe Friday’s policeman is Paul Brinegar, which would make our movie 1952’s The Captive City.


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