Fog Over Frisco (1934)





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Cited by film historian William K. Everson as one of the fastest-moving crime melodramas of the 1930s (if not the fastest) Fog Over Frisco still manages to leave viewers breathless. Top-billed Bette Davis plays giddy heiress Arlene Bradford, whose perverse fascination with gangsters gets her mixed up in a stolen-securities scheme. Arlene's more sensible sister Val (Margaret Lindsay) tries to keep her out of trouble, but this proves impossible. Entering into the fray are hotshot society reporter Tony (Donald Woods) and goofy photojournalist Izzy (Hugh Herbert), who like Val get in over their heads when they stumble upon the body of the murdered Arlene. The identity of the killer remains a well-concealed secret until Izzy, of all people, stumbles across a vital clue. Things really begin to accelerate when Val is kidnapped by Arlene's gangster cohorts (who, interestingly enough, are very reluctant to take her prisoner and do so only when there's no other option!), leading to a mile-a-minute rescue and hasty plot wrap-up. Among the many good guys, bad guys and red herrings are Alan Hale as an Irish cop, Robert H. Barrat as a butler who isn't a butler, and Henry O'Neill as a gosh-knows-what who may be the murderer. Though physical action is at a minimum, Fog Over Frisco is kept constantly on the move by director William Dieterle, using every cinematic trick and optical effect (wipe dissolves, iris-outs, swish-pans etc.) at his disposal. The film was less effectively remade as Spy Ship in 1942. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Bette Davis
as Arlene Bradford
Lyle Talbot
as Spencer Carleton
Irving Pichel
as Jake Bello
Alan Hale
as Chief O'Malley
Margaret Lindsay
as Val Bradford
Donald Woods
as Tony Stirling
William Demarest
as Spike Smith
Henry O'Neill
as Oren Porter
Dennis O'Keefe
as Van Brugh
Douglas Dumbrille
as Joshua Maynard
Hugh Herbert
as Izzy Wright
Arthur Byron
as Everett Bradford
Gordon Westcott
as Joe Bello
Selmer Jackson
as Radio Announcer
George Chandler
as Taxi Driver
Lester Dorr
as Reporter
Edward Peil Sr.
as Police Sergeant
Charles C. Wilson
as Sgt. O'Hagen
Hal Price
as Bartender
Harold Minjir
as Archie Van Ness
Douglas Cosgrove
as Lt. Davis
Harry Seymour
as Bill, the Messenger
Selmar Jackson
as Radio Announcer
Dick French
as Dick, the Orchestra Leader
Ralph Brooks
as Musician
A.S. Byron
as Everett Bradford
Charles Wilson
as Sgt. O'Hagen
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Critic Reviews for Fog Over Frisco

All Critics (1)

Crime thriller with a strangely constructed story and vivid location shooting.

Full Review… | January 30, 2012
Classic Film and Television

Audience Reviews for Fog Over Frisco

This one is a bit muddled, so should probably be skipped unless you're a true Bette Davis fan. Mercifully it's quite brisk, at 68 minutes, and there are some nice street shots in San Francisco. One scene that was a little surprising had journalists playing a game where one bends over, not looking, and one of a group of others spanks him, and he guesses who it was. Wow, really, was that a thing?

Antonius Block
Antonius Block

Super Reviewer

Davis always said this is one of her lessor pics but I love it she just chews up the scenery in this mystery pic.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

Snappy, very fast moving crime drama would have benefited from better leads aside from Bette Davis who pulses with a hedonistic force towards a certain doom. Every second she's on the screen the movie is vibrant when she's off it's just okay.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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