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Below the Deadline (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 8 June 1936 (USA)
After a good-natured Irish cop is framed for a diamond robbery and murder and presumed dead in a train wreck, he gets plastic surgery and returns to expose the real killers.


Charles Lamont


Ewart Adamson (story and screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Cecilia Parker ... Molly Fitzgerald
Russell Hopton ... Terry Mulvaney
Theodore von Eltz ... Flash Ackroyd (as Theodore Von Eltz)
Thomas E. Jackson ... Pearson (as Thomas Jackson)
Warner Richmond ... Diamond Dutch
John St. Polis ... Mr. Abrams
Kathryn Sheldon Kathryn Sheldon ... Aunt Mary Tibbett (as Katherine Sheldon)
Robert Homans ... Police Captain Symonds
Jack Gardner Jack Gardner ... Henchman Spike
Al Thompson Al Thompson ... Sparring Partner Al
Charles Delaney ... Artie Nolan
Sidney Payne ... Plastic Surgeon


Molly Fitzgerald, who works for Abrams and Co. Jewelers (although the company safe reads "Adams & Co. Jewelers"), is accosted on the street by a stranger who asks her for a date, but her fiancé, police officer Terry Mulvaney chases him away. Spike, the stranger, is interested in Molly other than for her pretty face; he is a member of a gang of jewel thieves who are planning to rob Abrams and want to use her to obtain information regarding the merchant's shipments of jewels. Through another ruse, gang member Flash Ackroyd gets the information and, through careful planning, frames Terry for the robbery. One of Abrams' assistants is killed and Terry is charged with robbery and murder. Terry escapes but Molly is fired as Abrams thinks she was in on the robbery. Molly gets a job in a nightclub ran by the gangsters. The train on which Terry is escaping is wrecked and he is transported to a hospital more dead than alive. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Crime | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was first telecast on New York City's pioneer television station W2XBS 23 July 1940. Post WWII televiewers got their first look at in in Lowell MA (serving the Boston Area) Thursday 7 October 1948 on WBZ (Channel 4). See more »


Plastic Surgeon: [to Terry, who is swathed in bandages] By the way, what kind of nose did you have?
See more »


Featured in The Irish Mob: Owney Madden/John 'Red' Hamilton (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Idea, But Some Flaws
27 October 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Ambitious cop Russell Hopton and jewel merchant's secretary Cecilia Parker are in love. Her boss is planning on a big shipment, which attractts Theodore von Eltz, the head of a jewelry-thief ring. Miss Parker attracts him too, so he works out an elaborate plan to frame Hopton for the robbery. It works. Hopton is arrested, escapes, and winds up in a train crash.

It's an elaborately plotted movie from ambitious Poverty Row producer Chesterfield. It's directed at a good clip by Charles Lamont, but there are a couple of problems. The first is that 36-year-old Hopton looks too old to play a 26-year-old Oirish beat cop, and the other is in the script by Ewart Adamson. It plods, making sure that every plot point is painstakingly laid out, and then further larded with not very interesting banter. At barely over an hour, it looks like it was padded.

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