Cast & Crew
Recently released from prison for a youthful mistake, Pat Norris determines to wipe out crime in the city in which he lives. Having learned chemistry while in prison, Pat decides to use the science to fight Sam O'Donnell's racketeering ring, which has the city in its clutches. After Pat makes a radio announcement imploring the public to stop patronizing mob-owned gambling casinos, Pat's friend, Dr. Talbot, offers the young crime fighter a job and a laboratory in which to work. When his mother is killed by a getaway car involved in a gang slaying, Pat demands action from Police Chief Hobbs, but the old-fashioned chief refuses to let Pat examine the evidence. Hobbs' daughter Lola, however, sympathizes with the young scientist and helps him with his crusade. After Walter Carter, the public spirited prosecutor, is murdered, and his murder is officially labelled a suicide by the police chief because he cannot find evidence to suggest otherwise by using conventional crime-solving methods, Pat angrily organizes a commission of scientists to investigate the crime. These professionals, skilled in microphotography, chemistry, ballistics and physiology use their skills to compile evidence that will convict the gang. As they begin to close in on O'Donnell, the desperate racketeer orders Lola kidnapped and destroys Pat's laboratory. With his daughter in peril, Hobbs begins to cooperate with the scientists, and by pairing scientific methods with police work, they locate the gang's hideout and rescue Lola.
Edward Van Sloan
P. J. Kelly
Charles Bob Moon
Working titles for this film were March of Crime and Seven Against Crime. The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that, in August 1939, the PCA notified Columbia that the first draft of the script was "not acceptable under the provisions of the Production Code" because of a long sequence showing the details of a murder. In February 1940, Columbia submitted a new treatment of the story to the PCA for comment. The February treatment, written by Adrian Scott and Bernard Fein, was rejected by the PCA because of its "gangster flavor" and because the gangsters in the story were not punished for their crimes. The PCA took issue with other "unacceptable details" in the treatment, including the characterization of "crooked and dishonest lawyers who pervert justice" and "shocking violence." In addition, the PCA called the story "such a shocking and thoroughly perverted picture of American life as to constitute a major libel on our form of government." So strong was the PCA's objection to the February treatment that it requested that Columbia "throw the whole thing into the ash can." In April 1940, however, Columbia submitted a third treatment, written by Robert Tasker, to the PCA, and it received the administration's approval.