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Hold That Woman! (1940) Online

Hold That Woman! (1940) Online
Original Title :
Hold That Woman!
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Crime / Romance
Year :
Directror :
Sam Newfield
Cast :
James Dunn,Frances Gifford,George Douglas
Writer :
George Bricker,William A. Pierce
Type :
Time :
1h 7min
Rating :
Hold That Woman! (1940) Online

A skip tracer--someone who collects late payments from people who've purchased appliances, etc., or takes them back them when they don't pay--repossesses a small radio from a deadbeat who's skipped payments. What he doesn't know is that a gang that has stolen diamonds from a Hollywood movie star has stashed them inside the radio, and they start hunting for him.
Cast overview, first billed only:
James Dunn James Dunn - Jimmy Parker
Frances Gifford Frances Gifford - Mary Mulvaney - aka Mary Parker
George Douglas George Douglas - Steve Brady
Rita La Roy Rita La Roy - Lulu Driscoll
Martin Spellman Martin Spellman - Mike Mulvaney
Eddie Fetherston Eddie Fetherston - Conroy
Guy Usher Guy Usher - Police Officer John Mulvaney
Paul Bryar Paul Bryar - 'Duke' Jurgens
Edwin Max Edwin Max - Taxi (as Ed Miller)
John Dilson John Dilson - Bill Lannigan
Dave O'Brien Dave O'Brien - Miles Hanover
Anna Lisa Anna Lisa - Corrine Hill
William Hall William Hall - John Lawrence
Marie Rice Marie Rice - Mrs. Mulvaney
Frank Meredith Frank Meredith - Mike - Police Officer

This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-46. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. It's earliest documented telecasts so far uncovered occurred in New York City Monday 2 August 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Philadelphia Saturday 20 November 1948 on WFIL (Channel 6), and in Detroit Wednesday 20 April 1949 on WXYZ (Channel 7)

User reviews



Originally titled SKIP TRACER. this very entertaining, briskly paced comedy adventure features James Dunn, cast as Jimmy Parker, an agent for Skip Tracers, Ltd., who with his girl friend Mary (Dunn's real life wife Frances Gifford) find themselves embroiled in the midst of a burglary case concerning diamonds stolen from a movie star, bringing about their being arrested, shot at and chased by the thieves, yet finding opportunity to be wed and set up housekeeping, all during one frenetic day, thanks to a snappily penned script that neatly ties together disparate plot elements. A small budgeted production from producer Sigmund Newfield's PRC studio, the work is ably directed by his brother Sam, an old hand at such poverty row action pieces, assisted here as often by Holbrook Todd, editor, and cameraman Jack Greenhalgh who is accustomed to thinking quickly for this type of film, the trio joining to create smooth montage effects. That aspect of acting called "business", prominent from the 1930s into the 1950s, particularly in U.S. cinema, benefits this production, especially that employed by Dunn (who ad libs effectively) in conjunction with beautiful Gifford whose natural graces earn for the future star of serials the acting laurels here, although her native athleticism is sublimated for her role, while able turns are to be appreciated from Rita LaRoy, Paul Boyar and George Douglas as members of the gem thieving gang, and from Dave O'Brien as a skip tracer in competition with Parker. The DVD release from Alpha offers adequate sight and sound, with no extras.


James Dunn was a complete actor. He could play anything from crime to comedy. He first came to public notice as Eddie Collins in "Bad Girl" (1931) - a tale of the ups and downs of a young married couple in New York. After a couple of other films with the beautiful Sally Eilers, he was then teamed with cute Claire Trevor in "Jimmie and Sally" (1933). After yet another pairing with Trevor in "Baby Takes a Bow" (1934) he was then teamed with the film's star - Shirley Temple. "Hold That Woman" (1940) was made during a time when he was down on his luck and battling the bottle. Even with all his problems he still makes the film completely enjoyable. His leading lady was the beautiful Frances Gifford, who was his wife at the time.

Jimmy Parker (James Dunn) is a "skip tracer" - a repossession agent. When he is given the job of repossessing a radio - things get complicated. The lady, Lulu Driscoll (Rita La Roy) refuses to relinquish it and everyone ends up at the police station. She has hidden some jewels that were stolen from a famous actress, in the back of the set. The famous actress, Corinne Hill (Anna Lisa) has problems of her own - she has just discovered that her fiancé is a thief and is mixed up in the robbery of her jewels.

When Jimmie goes back to retrieve the radio, he finds Lulu has moved and all her furniture, including the radio, has gone into storage. He goes to the warehouse but the radio is not there. In the meantime he has proposed to Mary (Frances Gifford) and they go to see a widow who is selling a houseful of furniture for a song. Needless to say she is pulling a "swifty" as all her furniture is due to be repossessed!!! Everyone heads to Marble Cliff Drive where Lulu is living, along with her radio and the jewels. Miles Hanover (Dave O'Brien), the skip - tracer's "golden haired boy", goes to the house to make a deal - if Lulu hands over the jewels to him, he will leave - no questions asked. He comes to a sticky end, much to Jimmie's amusement.

It was a very enjoyable film and Frances Gifford proved she was a talent sadly wasted. Recommended.


The accent is on comedy capers rather than mystery and noir in this remarkably involved yet fast-paced and light-hearted gangster yarn about stolen diamonds which a sleazy blonde has hidden in a cheap portable radio.

Although this movie was made right in the middle of a down cycle in James Dunn's remarkable up-and-down movie career (he would bounce back with a vengeance in 1945 when he won universal praise for his brilliant performance under Elia Kazan's tutelage in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), it's quite an entertaining little offering, despite the actor's haggard appearance in some shots. It's also of interest to see the lovely Frances Gifford (Dunn's wife at the time) and a fine collection of support oddballs including Dave O'Brien and Rita La Roy.

For once, director Neufeld/Newfield (alias Sherman Scott here) has handled the proceedings with pace and even occasional flair, making deft use of a large number of real (if not particularly picturesque) L.A. locations. The director also manages the difficult feat of balancing many disparate plot elements in an extremely complicated screenplay so neatly and with such finesse that even a backward audience can always follow the plot.

Mind you, a farcical script that creates such a frantic fuss over a portable radio set that looks as if it's worth ten bucks at the most, is hardly believable. But with players like Dunn, Gifford, O'Brien and company, who cares?


Hold That Woman introduces an awful lot of characters for a one hour movie—skip tracers, policemen, gangsters, a couple of jewel thieves, a movie starlet and a policeman's daughter. It's a bit much for a while, but the story finally brings them all together for the last fifteen minutes—one after another, alone and in groups, all of the characters wind up at the house where a certain much sought after radio has arrived.

What's with the radio? Well, it's not paid for….and also a girl crook has stashed some jewels in it that were stolen from a movie star who is unwittingly mixed up with another crook.

Enter James Dunn, repo man, and Frances Gifford, the girl who loves him. Dunn is working at tracking down said radio, but finds time during this particular work day not only to spend some time with lovely Gifford but to marry her, buy a house, and also purchase a houseful of used furniture and order it delivered.

It all really doesn't make much sense, but honestly, there's so much going on in this picture—and it's all presented so good-naturedly—that it would be overly picky to parse details in search of logical gaps. Suffice it to say that Dunn and Gifford look like they're having a good time and the rest of the cast do their best to keep up.

Funny line from early in the picture—mother to young son: "You know, if you don't get an education, you'll grow up to be a policeman, just like your father." (To which the son replies, "Well, then I won't do my homework at all!") –If you chuckle at that, then this movie is for you.


I'm simply astounded by what used to pass for movie entertainment back in the Thirties and Forties. In this one for example, the picture's leading man (James Dunn) marries his girlfriend (Frances Gifford), buys a house, and fills it with furniture that will wind up being repossessed by the company he himself works for - Skip Tracers Ltd. Not only that, he solves the case he started working on that same day, the recovery of some jewels that were stolen from a glamorous movie star. And are you ready for this - it all happens in the space of a single afternoon!

Oh well, can't be too critical. This was done more as a comedy than an actual crime drama, with the leading players an affable enough couple. However I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that a pretty gal like Mary Mulvaney (Gifford) would ever go for a guy like Jimmy Parker (Dunn), and then I find out that the actors were actually married in real life! Sometimes you just can't account for taste.

Anyway, this is a fairly fast paced and frenetic story that's all over the place with car chases, stake-outs and other assorted hi-jinks before it's satisfactorily wrapped up by skip-tracer Parker. You have to keep an eye on that radio with the hidden jewels as the central plot element. When Jimmy recovers it from Lulu Driscoll (Rita La Roy) the first time, he unplugs it from the wall in her apartment only to be arrested by the time he makes it down the stairs of the building. By the end of the picture, the film makers dispensed with that little inconvenience; when Jimmy grabbed it near the end of the story, it didn't even have a cord!

Well I guess this didn't have to make too much sense as long as it was entertaining. Which it was for the most part if you don't think about it too much. Filmed by Poverty Row movie company PRC (Producers Releasing Corp.), I was intrigued by one of the opening credits that mentioned it was filmed using Western Electic's 'Noiseless Recording' process. Who would have thought?


I think that for today's audiences a little clarification is needed as far as terms used. James Dunn is described as 'skip tracer'. He is most definitely not someone who goes after dangerous criminals who break bail. Today what Dunn does would be better described as a Repo-Man. He just takes items bought on credit that buyers are late in paying for.

He's in some trouble at work because Dave O'Brien is the fairhaired boy of the boss because he repossesses more than the rest. And Dunn also is having woman trouble, his potential father-in-law who is a cop doesn't think he's the right sort for his daughter Frances Gifford.

But in a light and breezy paced comedy/drama Dunn gets himself an assignment to repossess a radio from Rita LeRoy who happened to stash some stolen jewels in it. She's the brains behind the mob and she's plenty smart and no one to mess with.

Dunn did this one for poverty row PRC Pictures and considering what a no frills outfit they were this one is pretty good.


In "Hold That Woman!" you hear the term 'skip-tracer' a lot and because it's such a seldom used term, it would be best if I explain it before getting to the review. Like the words say, this is a person that looks for someone who has skipped out of town and is in hiding. The skip-tracer can be doing this for a variety of reasons, such as bounty hunting, process serving (court notices) and, in the case of this movie, it's someone who is looking to repossess items for which the owners did not finish making payments. Making such a person the hero in your story is a bit odd to say the least.

The skip-tracer in this film is Jimmy Parker (James Dunn). When out collecting a radio from a very unpleasant woman, he gets himself into trouble by breaking into her apartment. Sure, she's a crook but legally you cannot just break in to repossess the radio. The lady is very indignant and insists on pressing charges against him. But this is a ruse...she doesn't want him to have the radio because there is something hidden inside and she cannot let him have it. What is it and who else is looking for the radio?

This film was made by tiny little PRC Studio--one of the crappier small-time outfits of the day. Most of their films are very forgettable--with lousy stories, directing and acting. Here, however, PRC actually created, accidentally, a decent movie which still contained a few of the usual clichés (such as the leading guy who knows MUCH more than the dopey cops). Overall, this is a mildly entertaining mystery movie--with both a bit of comedy and some gritty violence (I like the drill sequence).


Jimmie Parker, an easy going, affable, likable guy is just not very good at his job as a skip tracer. Skip tracers either get the cash owed on a product or repossess the product and return it to the store. Parker's completion rate is very low and he is in danger of losing his job. His boss likes to point out how very good Miles Hanover (Dave O'Brien) is as a skip tracer. Given how smug and smarmy Hanover is, the audience can eagerly anticipate his being given his comeuppance by Jimmy. In addition to being a nice guy, Jimmy also has incredible good luck. In one afternoon he gets married to a beautiful woman (who is fortunately also easy going), buys a house, buys furniture, moves into the house, catches jewel thieves and helps a colleague repossess a car. There are a couple of snags along the way like getting arrested and buying the furniture from a crooked old lady who sold it (cheap) to Jimmy right before the skip tracers came for it. Somehow this convoluted plot works and is actually entertaining and a pleasant way to spend an hour.