Watch Fog Over Frisco
- 1 hr 8 min
Fog Over Frisco is a 1934 American Pre-Code drama film directed by William Dieterle and starring Bette Davis, Donald Woods, and Margaret Lindsay. The film takes place in San Francisco, where socialite Arlene Bradford (Bette Davis) becomes entangled in a dangerous investigation when her friend (and later, lover) Val (Donald Woods) asks her for help in locating his missing sister, who has become mixed up with a gang of jewel thieves.
The film begins with Arlene attending a party at the home of her wealthy socialite aunt, who discourages her from hanging around with her old, bad-influence friends. Among these friends is Val, who is in love with Arlene but hesitates to propose because of her high social status. Despite their different lifestyles and the disapproval of Arlene's aunt, Arlene and Val continue to see each other secretly.
One day, Val comes to Arlene with troubling news: his sister has disappeared after getting involved with a gang of jewel thieves, led by the suave and ruthless Dan Wallace (Lyle Talbot). Val suspects that she's being held captive somewhere in the city and begs Arlene to help him find her. Arlene agrees to help, even though she knows that getting involved with a criminal investigation could harm her reputation and social standing.
As Arlene and Val begin their investigation, they become embroiled in a dangerous plot involving the theft of precious jewels from a wealthy collector. Along the way, they team up with district attorney Tony Sterling (Hugh Herbert) and a sharp-witted newspaper reporter (Ricardo Cortez) to try and bring the criminals to justice. But as the plot thickens and the stakes get higher, Arlene realizes that she's in over her head and might not make it out alive.
Throughout the film, Bette Davis delivers a strong performance as Arlene Bradford, a woman torn between her high society upbringing and her loyalty to her friend (and later, lover) Val. Davis captures the character's conflicted emotions perfectly, conveying both the haughty arrogance of the social elite and the vulnerability of a woman who risks everything to do what's right.
Donald Woods plays Val, Arlene's love interest and the driving force behind the investigation. Woods delivers a solid performance as the earnest and charming detective, whose determination to find his sister is matched only by his devotion to Arlene. Margaret Lindsay plays Val's sister, who becomes ensnared in the web of the jewel thieves and must rely on her brother and Arlene to set her free.
The film is beautifully shot, with moody and atmospheric scenes that capture the foggy, noirish world of 1930s San Francisco. The suspenseful plot keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, wondering who's behind the jewel thefts and what will happen to Arlene and Val as they delve deeper into the criminal underworld.
Fog Over Frisco is a classic example of the Pre-Code era, showcasing the kind of badass female characters that were common in films of the time. Arlene is smart, independent, and willing to take risks to help her friends, even if it means putting herself in danger. The film explores themes of love, loyalty, and class struggle, showing the clash between the old-money social elite and the gritty criminal underworld.
Overall, Fog Over Frisco is a thrilling and suspenseful movie that showcases the talents of Bette Davis and Donald Woods, as well as the artistry of Pre-Code filmmaking. It's a must-see for fans of classic Hollywood cinema and anyone who loves a good mystery.