skip navigation
Society Lawyer

Society Lawyer(1939)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

Socialite Sue Leonard thinks that her fiancé, society lawyer Christopher Durant, should stop defending gangsters such as Tony Gazotti, whom he has just gotten acquitted on a murder charge. That opinion is shared by Chris's conservative law firm, headed by Sue's father, who reluctantly asks Chris to resign. Sue breaks her engagement to Chris, who graciously gives his blessing to her relationship with their mutual friend, Phil Siddall. Phil then severes his ties to Judy Barton, angering Judy enough to threaten him and call her old boyfriend, gangster Jim Crelliman. Crelliman is still angry with Judy for throwing him over for Phil, but pretends that he still cares for her. After she arrives at a party at Crelliman's apartment, he insists that she publicly tell Phil, whom he has also invited to the party, they are through. At the party, Crelliman asks them to go out on the terrace, and while he is dancing with someone else, shots are heard, and Phil is discovered standing over Judy's body with a revolver. The next morning, Sue asks Chris's help to defend Phil, and he agrees. Despite the evidence, Chris believes in Phil's innocence and asks Tony, who is Crelliman's rival, for help. Tony then introduces Chris to Pat Abbott, a singer in Tony's nightclub, who was Judy's friend and upstairs neighbor. She agrees to help Chris and stay at his apartment until the case is settled. When police Lieutenant Stevens, a friend of Chris, shows him photos of Judy's body, he is convinced that she could not have been shot by Phil, but by someone from above the terrace. By accident, Pat reveals that Judy used to pawn things with a man named Frederick Schmidt, who is a friend of Crelliman's and the same man who swore that Phil bought the murder weapon from him. After questioning Schmidt, Chris learns from Tony that Schmidt has just been murdered. Searching for clues in Pat's apartment, which overlooks the terrace where Judy was killed, Chris is interrupted by Crelliman, who threatens Chris, then draws a gun. Chris overpowers him and escapes, then enters the apartment of Crelliman's henchman, Tim Murtock, with a passkey provided by Tony, and discovers that it has the exact angle from which Judy was shot. With the aid of the elevator operator, Chris gets away from the building and is found by Tony, who tells him the name of the bar where Murtock is. Seeing Pat leave the bar with Murtock, Chris becomes angry, then summons Stevens to Crelliman's apartment. When Pat arrives, she tells him that she lured Murtock away from his apartment for Chris's protection and Chris realizes that he has fallen in love with her. He then asks Pat to go to Crelliman's and get him onto the terrace, while Chris takes Stevens to Murtock's apartment to observe. By pretending to be working on a frame-up of his own, Chris gets a confession out of Murtock, who admits that he shot Judy for Crelliman. Now seeing that Pat is in danger, Chris and the police go to Crelliman's apartment and find that Tony shot Crelliman to save Pat and was mortally wounded himself. Back at Chris's, his butler Layton eavesdrops on a call from Sue and tells Pat that Chris is going to marry her and take them all to Europe.