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Corsair [DVD] [1931]
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Of interest mainly because of the talent involved, this film remains a tepid bootleg melodrama about a small-town football hero attempting to prove that he is as ruthless as his rich girlfriend's father. Spoiled Alison Corning (Alison Loyd) persuades her Wall Street banker father (Emmett Corrigan) to hire her newest beau, gridiron star John Hawkes (Chester Morris). Hawkes, however, does not approve of the banker's heartless business practices and is fired for refusing to sell questionable stock. To get back at Corning, John and his tipsy sidekick Chub Hopping (Frank McHugh), go into business together, hijacking the bootleg cargo of gangster Big John (Fred Kohler) and selling the contraband to Corning. Big John, as it turns out, is employed by the banker, who is thus made to pay for his own liquor twice. A couple of gang members, Slim (Ned Sparks) and Sophie (Mayo Methot), conspire with Hawkes to doublecross Big John and are killed for their efforts. Despite the ruthlessness of the gangster and his henchman Fish Face (Frank Rice), Hawkes manages to get the upper hand, proving once and for all that he is the banker's equal and worthy of Alison's love. Corsair (which was the name of Chester Morris' pirate vessel) was produced at Catalina Island by silent screen director Roland West as a showcase for for his girlfriend Thelma Todd. A gifted comedienne, Todd was made to change her name to Alison Loyd for the occasion, but producer-director West gave her very little to work with, and she quickly returned to her former employer, comedy king Hal Roach. West, who had helmed a couple of interesting silent melodramas, ended his screen career with Corsair, opening instead a restaurant with Todd as his partner. The Thelma Todd Sidewalk Café on Pacific Coast Highway just north of Santa Monica remained a popular industry hangout until Todd's mysterious death in 1935 from carbon monoxide poisoning in a garage belonging to Roland West's estranged wife, silent screen actress Jewel Carmen. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Chester Morris
    Chester Morris - John Hawks
  • Image coming soon
    William Austin - Richard Bentinck
  • Frank McHugh
    Frank McHugh - "Chub" Hopping
  • Image coming soon
    Emmett Corrigan - Stephen Corning
  • Fred Kohler
    Fred Kohler - Big John
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.