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Undercover Agent (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 19 April 1939 (USA)
A railway postal clerk goes after a sweepstakes counterfeiting ring.


Howard Bretherton


Milton Raison (screenplay), Martin Mooney (original story)


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Cast overview:
Russell Gleason ... Bill Trent
Shirley Deane ... Betty Madison
J.M. Kerrigan ... Tom 'Pop' Madison
Maude Eburne ... Mrs. Minnow
Oscar O'Shea ... Pat Murphy
Ralf Harolde ... Bartel (as Ralph Harolde)
Selmer Jackson ... John Graham
Ray Bennett ... Pussyfoot - Henchman
Ralph Sanford ... Joe Blake
Dick Elliott ... Garrison
Lee Phelps Lee Phelps ... Pete Higgens - Bartender
Walter Wills Walter Wills ... Cigar Store Proprietor
Max Hoffman Jr. Max Hoffman Jr. ... Slicker - Henchman


When Bill Trent (Russell Gleason),a United States Mail Inspector for the railways, uses his gun to foil a robber, he gets a probation sentence from the service. So, the next time he encounters a gang of crooks---forgers of sweepstakes tickets---he brings them to justice and jail without the aid of a gun. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

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This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in New York City Wednesday 22 June 1949 on WPIX (Channel 11), and in Los Angeles Sunday 31 July 1949 on KTLA (Channel 5). See more »

User Reviews

no-frills Monogram crime drama, interesting characterizations
22 September 2003 | by django-1See all my reviews

Monogram was a wonderful little factory of b-movies, films that delivered the goods week after week for small town and neighborhood audiences. UNDERCOVER AGENT is a typical Monogram programmer, directed by Howard Bretherton, a man who directed many fine westerns and two interesting Columbia serials in the mid-40s, but it contains many small tidbits of particularity and humanity that make it somehow special even today, 60+ years after it was made. The plot involves sweepstakes fraud (I remember a similar plot being used in a 1930's Frankie Darro vehicle)and Russell Gleason, as boyish as ever, convincingly plays a postal inspector who is put on suspension due to an warranted but technical illegal shooting. He is gradually working his way up the ranks and wants to marry his girlfriend, played by Shirley Deane. One interesting detail in the story is that Ms. Deane's father, played by J. M. Kerrigan, is a hardcore alcoholic who is seen pawning his daughter's confirmation ring in the film's first scene. He is turned down and thrown out of establishments in scenes that echo of TEN NIGHTS IN A BARROOM. The film, like so many forgotten little b-movies of yesteryear, is full of such small details that still work today. Kerrigan's character, of course, eventually finds redemption (no surprise there!), but the sweepstakes scam is cleverly put together by the criminals, and cleverly busted by Gleason.

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Release Date:

19 April 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweepstake Racketeers See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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