Brad McKay (Lee Tracy) may talk too much and play too much poker, but heís also the smartest newspaper reporter at the Chronicle. Big-time racketeer John Angus (Jack LaRue) is saved from exposure by the highly suspicious death of special prosecutor Lloyd Pearson (Ian Keith) . The main suspect, inveterate gambler Moroni (John Maxwell) has an airtight alibi - he was playing poker with McKay on the night of the murder. In the course of a hazardous fact-finding mission, McKayís suspicion are confirmed, but he canít prove them. His assignment is not made easier by his discovery that the murdered prosecutor was expecting a payoff that death cheated him out of.
Pitted against an imposing criminal machinery that has eyes, ears and guns everywhere, McKay soon finds himself in one tight spot after the other. However, he is not alone in his investigations - tenderfoot reporter Guy Norris (Tom Brown) and the murdered manís vengeful wife Phyllis Walker (Tina Thayer) assist him. The investigation leads them to the Hi Lo Club, owned by mobster John Angus, and soon Moroni is found dead, too. The stunningly lovely and resourceful Alma Dorene (Evelyn Brent) would also seem to be on McKayís side - or is she?
As the tables keep turning and the players keep showing unsuspected sides to their character, McKay finally solves the riddle - but now his own life is hanging by a thread....
MPAA Ratings: NR (Suitable for Children)
Star Chronicle reporter Brad McKayís philosophy that money and blood are kissing cousins is soon borne out when key prosecutor Lloyd Pearson is brutally murdered. McKay is assigned to uncover the truth, and soon finds that the most likely suspect has a foolproof alibi. McKayís instincts lead him to the goon Moroni, but he is road-blocked on every turn. The investigation keeps developing unexpected turns, and nobody - least of all the exotic Alma Dorene - are what they seem to be. Finally, everything centers around the payoff motive. But can McKay get to the bottom of it?
With trainee reporter Guy Norris and the vengeful Phyllis Walker helping him, McKay is nevertheless soon in the spot of his life. This gripping drama of intrigue and suspense will have you engrossed and guessing till the finish.
"A good, old-fashioned whodunit in the best tradition of the newspaper sleuth. Itís like one of those delicious Raymond Chandler novels perfectly translated onto the silver screen. The perfect way to spend a relaxed evening - put on The Pay off and get transported to the Golden Age of gumshoe epics...."
Harold Whittner (Newbury, CONNECTICUT)
"The Pay off is a great movie - thatís really all that needs to be said. Iím no professional reviewer, but I can safely state that this is a winner. Lee Tracy as the hard-bitten reporter pitched against impossible odds is absolutely brilliant. Thanks, A2ZCDS...Iíll be back for more vintage feature films from you."
Judith Elliman (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma)
Jack La Rue - John Angus
Robert Middlemass - Norris (newspaper publisher)
John Maxwell - Moroni
John Sheehan - Sgt. Brenen
Harry C. Bradley - Dr. Steele
Forrest Taylor - Hugh Walker
Pat Costello - Reporter
Ian Keith - Police inspector
Leon Fromkess - executive producer
Edward Dein - Writing Credits
Harry D. Edwards - Associate Producer
Ira H. Morgan - Cinematography
Charles Henkel Jr.- Editor
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