Cast & Crew
Special Agent Kent Foster of the U.S. State Department files a report in Washington D.C. about his detail in London. Kent explains that his British case began the previous year when he received a cable from London about the elusive spy Nick Randall. Kent then learned that Randall's girl friend, American singer Angela Booth, was performing at a West End theater: After an absence of three months, Randall visits Angela in her dressing room. Angela does not know what he does for a living, but he proposes that they meet at midnight on New Year's Eve at The Oxhead Inn, where they will marry. Unknown to Angela, Randall then telephones an unidentified contact to demand a pay raise and confirm he has Angela. When Angela later reveals her plans to Julian Lord, the impresario who discovered her, he refuses to release her and becomes violent. Angela strikes him across the face with a hand mirror in self-defense, but is arrested and sentenced to six months in jail. Her incarceration dashes Kent's hope that she will lead him to Randall. Kent then travels to England to consult with his British counterpart, Scotland Yard Inspector D. N. Hedges. Kent and Hedges suspect that Angela is ignorant of Randall's true identity, and contrive to obtain her cooperation by arranging for her to visit Hedges' office under the guise of international relations. Kent then enters the office and casually discusses Randall's case with Hedges, revealing that Randall collaborated with Nazis during World War II, murdered Kent's colleague and now works as a courier for a spy ring. Although Angela remains silent, her face registers her distress. Back in prison, Angela confides in Granny Rafferty, an elderly inmate who has twice attempted escape. After the governor denies Angela's request for special leave so that she can keep her appointment with Randall, Hedges and Kent arrange with the warden to let Angela escape, so they can follow her. At the inmates' Christmas show, Granny, whom the warden enlisted to engineer the escape, and Bessie, another inmate, distract the guards while Granny short-circuits the electricity. Granny and Angela then sneak out, and are joined by Spanish inmate Marguerite, who fears that the government is going to take her baby away and place it up for adoption. Hedges and Kent worry that London police, who are unaware that the escape is a ruse, will easily capture the women, but the fugitives escape the city with the help of a boatman. After arriving in a small town, Granny secretly checks in with Hedges by telephone, then takes the baby and arranges for the women to meet separately at her friend Grace's flat. Grace, an ex-convict, reluctantly gives them shelter. Angela, meanwhile, visits her ex-convict friend Cleo Thompson, a bigamist who is dating one of the male prison guards. After changing into Cleo's clothing, Angela arrives at Grace's apartment while Granny is out, and beseeches the anxious Grace to help them protect the baby. However, Angela and Granny later flee after seeing Grace talk to a policeman, and they encounter Marguerite, who has located friends who will take her child. Marguerite is captured by police, but Granny and Angela escape with the help of a friendly drunk, who merrily tosses firecrackers from the rear of his car as Granny drives. The inn appears to be deserted when Angela arrives, but Randall is waiting nearby, and she confesses that she has been incarcerated. Randall surmises that her escape was contrived, and at that moment, Kent, who is hiding in shrubbery nearby, calls out to Randall. Randall draws his gun but is killed in the resulting gunfight. When Angela mourns his death, Kent reminds her that Randall was using her, and assures her that she will not have to return to prison. Kent completes his report in Washington D.C., and shows his boss a newspaper featuring a photograph of Angela, who now is a successful torch singer.
The viewed print was titled Blonde Bait. No production company, screenplay or story credit were included in the onscreen credits or in contemporary American reviews. Blonde Bait comprises a combination of added footage with an earlier British film produced by Hammer Films, Ltd. and released in England by Exclusive Films, Ltd. under the title Women Without Men. The 1956 British Monthly Film Bulletin review listed the running time of Women Without Men as 73 minutes, with a length of 6,572 feet, and provided screenplay credits for Val Guest and Richard Landau, and assistant director John Elphick. The review also listed the song "Long Ago Guy," composed by Douglas Gamley. However, this song was not heard in the viewed print of Blonde Bait.
Although most of Blonde Bait was filmed on location in London and at Bray Studios in Windsor, England, the added American footage, which takes place primarily in an office setting, was most likely shot in the U.S. Although both films share cast members, the Monthly Film Bulletin review of Women Without Men credits actor Paul Carpenter for the role of "Nick Randall," but Jim Davis plays Randall in Blonde Bait. In addition, the British review does not include Davis or Paul Cavanagh.
There were also notable differences between the plots of Blonde Bait and Women Without Men, including the following: There were no sequences involving American characters mentioned in the British review. In Women Without Men, "Granny Rafferty" and "Angela Booth" escape under their own volition, without police intervention. In the viewed print of Blonde Bait, however, the escape is a set-up arranged by "Kent Foster" and "Inspector D. N. Hedges." The British film appears primarily to have been a crime drama from the point of view of Angela, rather than the police. In the British version, Angela returns to prison at the end of the film after meeting with Randall, who assures her that he will wait for her. The American film ends with Randall's death followed by Angela's release, after which she returns to performing. Finally, Blonde Bait opens and closes with a framing sequence in which Kent describes the events of the case in a report to his boss. Neither this section nor scenes with Hedges appeared in Women Without Men.
No further contemporary production information has been located about Blonde Bait. A modern source lists Herbert Glazer, who is credited on the viewed print as assistant director, as the director of the American sequences.