Retrospektive 2018

Persons In Hiding

Louis King
USA 1939
67 min

Law enforcement czar J. Edgar Hoover cannily understood the power of popular media to define the image of the federal bureau he effectively invented and ruled for almost four decades. In the 1930s Hoover turned to cinema as a publicity vehicle for his FBI, working with the studios to transform stories from the Bureau’s own files into gripping narratives of crime and its swift punishment. PERSONS IN HIDING is the first of four B-films made by Paramount under Hoover’s close supervision and based on successfully closed FBI cases chronicled in his best-selling and eponymous book. Boasting a screenplay co-written by hard-boiled novelist Horace McCoy, PERSONS IN HIDING balances its careful exposé of police procedure with a charged evocation of Depression-era struggle, embodied in the figure of an embittered hairdresser who impulsively embraces crime and a partnership with a petty hood as a means to obtain the status symbols she invidiously desires. The feature debut of little known B-starlet Patricia Morison, PERSONS IN HIDING offers the farm girl turned ruthless killer as an emblem of the criminality Hoover claimed to lurk everywhere, even within the dark shadows of the American heartland. (Haden Guest)


  • William Frawley
  • Lynne Overman
  • Leo Shuken
  • William Henry
  • Helen Twelvetrees
  • Judith Barrett
  • J. Carrol Naish
  • Screenplay William R. Lipman
  • Horace McCoy based on the book by J. Edgar Hoover
  • Harry Fischbeck
  • John Leipold
  • Floyd Morgan
  • Leo Shuken
Paramount Pictures
16 mm
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