Subject: Chester Morris and Thelma Todd on sale for limited time


Corsair (1931)
Starring Chester Morris and Thelma Todd

Beautiful print and will play in all DVD players.
A small-town football hero attempts 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.
Director: Roland West
Writers: Walton Green (novel), Roland West (picturized by)

Stars: Chester Morris, Thelma Todd, Fred Kohler, Ned Sparks, Emmett Corrigan, Frank McHugh, Frank Rice, Mayo Methot, Addie McPhail
Roland West's last film. He took a few years off from the industry and planned to return in the late 1930s, but in 1935 his girlfriend, actress Thelma Todd, was murdered in a restaurant that she and West ran in Santa Monica. He vowed never to return to Hollywood and for the remainder of his life (he died in 1952), he never did.
Chester Morris never gave a more vigorous performance, Fred Kohler was never more hissable, and Thelma Todd was never more sexy. But, putting the leads to one side, the movie also represents the crowning acting achievements of Frank Rice and Mayo Methot.
The film is interesting because it takes the bootlegging angle away from street gangsters, replacing them with pirates. There is an ocean-set battle between the two different gangs of bootleggers which provides much excitement and gives a modern twist on the old pirate tradition of walking the plank.
The early moments of Corsair offer a big buildup for our first look at Alison Loyd: we can hear her conversation with dance partner Frank McHugh, but our only view is of the back of her head. A moment later she is introduced to football hero Chester Morris, and again, she speaks unseen…, until finally, in close-up, her big smile flashes onto the screen– of course, it's Thelma Todd's smile. This big introduction apparently aims at establishing Todd as a mysterious and glamorous figure; presumably, this is why Todd is billed as "Alison Loyd" for the first and only time—to differentiate her "new" persona from the light comic actress Thelma Todd had been (and would continue to be, thank heavens!).
Order this rarely-seen and hard-to-find classic today for the low price of $5.99.
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