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Bureau of Missing Persons [VHS]

14 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Bette Davis, Lewis Stone, Pat O'Brien, Glenda Farrell, Allen Jenkins
  • Directors: Roy Del Ruth
  • Writers: Carol Bird, John H. Ayers, Robert Presnell Sr.
  • Producers: Henry Blanke
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302548381
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,324 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Butch Saunders has been transferred to Missing Persons because he was too brutal in other police work. He regards the assignment as "kindergarten" work. When a young woman asks him to help locate her husband, Therme, he learns that she is really Norma Phillips, wanted by Chicago police for murder of her husband.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This nineteen thirties film is a blend of comedy, romance and drama. With a strong cast and snappy dialogue, the film is entertaining. Lewis Stone co-stars as Captain Webb, the benevolent head of the NYPD Bureau of Missing Persons, and gives a compelling performance as the almost godlike boss who will bend the rules, if he feels that it serves a higher purpose. Pat O'Brien plays the part of the virile, tough talking gumshoe, Butch Sanders, who has been reassigned to the Bureau of Missing Persons due to his penchant for brutality. Butch falls head over heels for Bette Davis, who fetchingly plays the role of Norma Roberts aka Norma Phillips, a woman on the lam, accused of a murder that she did not commit. Glenda Farrell is delightful as Belle, Butch's ostensibly estranged wife.
This movie is a lot of fun to watch, if only for its peek into the nineteen thirties perception of police work. There are a number of subplots and incidents that flesh out the film. Look also for the politically incorrect. The scene where Butch decides to show Belle his anger over her fleecing him is sure to anger domestic violence activists. It is, however, rightly or wrongly, reflective of the time in which the film was made. It is also a tad risque for the time, as Butch makes reference to the night that he and Norma spent together.
While Davis and Stone get top billing over Pat O'Brien, it is O'Brien who steals the show. He plays his character with a vim and vigor that grabs the viewer. All in all, this is an interesting little movie that should delight all those who love classic films.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Glasser VINE VOICE on October 12, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
Bureau of Missing Persons is a fast paced film set in a police station. We see various snippets of people looking for other people for various reasons. We hear of lost women being found in jail. We find that one woman went missing as a publicity stunt. We also see that some people are never found. The main story centers around Bette Davis's character who claims to have lost her husband. As the story unravels, we learn that she is lying and that she is really wanted for murdering the man she is seeking.

Lewis Stone plays the chief of the bureau, a sensitive man, but no push-over. He makes sure that the families of the lost are given bad information gently and often sugar coats the truth.

Pat O'Brien is excellent in the film as a new addition to the bureau who is assigned Davis's case. He shows great promise before the case, but during he finds himself falling prey to her feminine wiles. However, all turns out well in the end. O'Brien is the star of the show, a fast-talking, highly entertaining cast member.

Bette Davis is beautiful and sweet-looking in this film. She does nothing outstanding for the part, but she fulfills the role.

Overall, this film is a delight from start to finish.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James L. on March 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Pat O'Brien stars as a dectective at New York City's Bureau of Missing Persons, where people go to find loved ones that have disappeared. O'Brien has been transferred there to learn more about proper police work, guided by the Bureau's chief, Lewis Stone, a man who can be tough and compassionate, depending on the situation. A lot of stories come through the Bureau, and a number of them are nicely woven into the subplot. O'Brien becomes involved with one of his clients, a mysterious young woman played by Bette Davis, who claims to be looking for her new husband. There seems to be more to the story than she says, and that soon becomes apparent. I really enjoyed this film a lot. In many ways, it is a typical Warner Brothers 1930's film. There's plenty of tough talking dialogue, tight editing, and no-nonsense acting. O'Brien comes on strong with a solid performance, Stone is wise and all-knowing, and Davis is unusually, but effectively understated. Glenda Farrell, as O'Brien's money-grabbing wife, is a lot of fun. Director Roy Del Ruth keeps it all moving at a very quick pace, and I really like the way the camera zooms back and forth between scenes, giving you a real sense of the urgency in the story. That's an unusual technique for films of that time. I also got a sense of the atmosphere of New York in the 1930's, which added to the film's effect. The story is surprisingly fresh for today's audiences, the dialogue is a lot of fun, and the film moves along very well. I'd recommend spending some time in the Bureau of Missing Persons.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "alixy" on August 3, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Police captain Lewis Stone is in charge of the Bureau of Missing Persons. It's his duty to see that cases are solved, and during this movie, they ARE solved! He inherits Detective Butch Saunders, played by Pat O'Brien, who is transferred to his department for disciplinary reasons. Butch scorns the work of the Bureau of Missing Persons, and accepts cases reluctantly--except for the case of Norma Roberts aka Norma Williams. Gorgeous Bette Davis plays Norma, who's on the run from the law. She's accused of being invovled in a murder, but Butch knows that's false! In a complicated series of events, the case involving Norma is successfully solved.
Excellent in a supporting role is Glenda Farrell as Belle, "Butchie Wootchie's" golddigging wife who shows up to gouge him for money. A running gag throughout the movie is the search for a gentleman's missing wife--and she turns out to be one of the secretaries at the bureau! The missing wife is played by the wonderful character actress Ruth Donnley, who never fails to please her audience.
This movie has great "atmosphere" and gives the viewer to experience what detective work might have been like in the 30's. Enjoy this movie soon!
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