CITY OF MISSING GIRLS (1941). Director: Elmer Clifton.
"It's not the disappearance. It's what happens to them after they disappear that's the tragedy."
A series of young women either disappear or are found murdered, and they are all somehow tied to the Crescent School of Fine Arts. ["If that's dramatic acting, I'll take fish," says one wag.] Philip Van Zandt is snappy as King Peterson, a racketeer who owns the school: "These girls only interest me from the standpoint of profit, understand me?" he snaps. Peterson is apparently more interested in grooming prostitutes than actresses. H. B. Warner is the police captain who's heading up the investigation, and Boyd Irwin is Thompson, Peterson's silent partner, whose daughter, Nora (Astrid Allwyn), is a reporter who is unaware of her father's involvement with the "school." Gale Storm of My Little Margie has a small role as a friend of one of the victims. Kathryn Crawford plays the sarcastic Helen. This film has some good dialogue, including the lines "Do you mind if I smoke?" / "I don't care if you burn" which later wound up on The Honeymooners. When all is said and done, however, City of Missing Girls is a mediocre mystery with some okay performances.
Verdict: Miss it if you can. **