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Lady Gangster (1942)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 April 1942 (USA)
Dot Burton (Faye Emerson) has acted as a decoy in a bank robbery and fails to get away. Her arrest attracts the attention of Ken Phillips (Frank Wilcox), a former childhood sweetheart who ... See full summary »


Robert Florey (as Florian Roberts)


Anthony Coldeway (screenplay) (as Anthony Coldewey), Dorothy Mackaye (play) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Faye Emerson ... Dot Burton
Julie Bishop ... Myrtle Reed
Frank Wilcox ... Kenneth Phillips
Roland Drew ... Carey Wells
Jackie Gleason ... Wilson (as Jackie C. Gleason)
Ruth Ford ... Lucy Fenton
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Stoner
Dorothy Vaughan ... Jenkins
Dorothy Adams ... Deaf Annie
William Hopper ... John (as DeWolf Hopper)
Vera Lewis ... Ma Silsby
Herbert Rawlinson ... D.A. Lewis Sinton
Peggy Diggins ... Mary
Charles C. Wilson ... Detective (as Charles Wilson)
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Stew (as Bill Phillips)


Dot Burton (Faye Emerson) has acted as a decoy in a bank robbery and fails to get away. Her arrest attracts the attention of Ken Phillips (Frank Wilcox), a former childhood sweetheart who believe her innocent until she confesses. But before going to jail she manages to steal the bank's $40,000 from her accomplices and leaves it with her landlady. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 April 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La dama pistolera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jackie Gleason was listed as Jackie C. Gleason here. This film was released on Wednesday April 1, 1942. Gleason died on Wednesday June 24, 1987- 45 years and three months after the release. See more »


When she meets with Stoner and Phillips, (47 minutes in) the mic is visible at the top of the screen. See more »


Mrs. Stoner: So the quicker you realize that this is neither a country club nor a concentration camp, the better. It's up to the women themselves how they're treated. If you behave yourself, we'll meet you more than halfway, but if you want to be tough, we can be tough with you. Now, is that clear?
Dorothy Drew Burton: Yes.
Mrs. Stoner: Yes, what?
Dorothy Drew Burton: Yes, Ma'am.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown with a gun and an open purse in the lower right corner. See more »


Version of Ladies They Talk About (1933) See more »


Blues in the Night
Music by Harold Arlen
Played when Burton is told she's getting a visit from her sister
See more »

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User Reviews

The Author's Life Was More Interesting Than This Film
9 January 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Lady Gangster was based on a play written by Dorothy Mackaye who did some time in prison for covering up a homicide of her husband Ray Raymond by actor Paul Kelly who also served in prison before resuming his career. All the principals in that affair are gone now and their lives and story would certainly be far more interesting than this film which had a previous incarnation by Warner Brothers in 1933. That film was Ladies They Talk About and starred Barbara Stanwyck. As it was before the Code, I'm betting that was a better version. It certainly sounded more interesting in the Stanwyck biography I read.

Faye Emerson is no Stanwyck, but she's all right in the role of an actress fallen on bad times and now hooking up with bank robbers Roland Drew, Bill Phillips and Jackie Gleason. Yes the great one is in the cast as wheel man of the bank robbery that Emerson acts as a shill/decoy for and gets caught.

In prison for her crime Faye makes friends with Julie Bishop and as she knows where the money is hid, she has that as a bargaining chip for her release. But the plot takes some strange turns and she's forced to escape.

The male roles in this film are weak, Frank Wilcox is a bit of a doofus as your crusading crime busting radio commentator. Why Emerson falls for him is beyond me. The script is weak and meandering for Lady Gangster as well. For instance an element is introduced of a rivalry between District Attorney Herbert Rawlinson and Wilcox, with Wilcox intimating the DA is corrupt. But that doesn't go anywhere. Certainly the talents of Jackie Gleason are not used at all, but Warners never realized what they had under contract.

On the plus side, the best supporting performance is clearly that of prison snitch Ruth Ford who really doesn't do it for material gain, she just likes the attention. Ford did quite a lot with a small role.

A product of Warner Brothers B picture unit, Lady Gangster just doesn't make it.

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