Black Market Babies (Mod) from Warner Bros.

“A smart guy could clean up in a racket like this.” So says Eddie Condon (Kane Richmond), a smooth-talking hood who sells unwanted babies to childless rich couples. Teaming up with a broken-down sawbones (Ralph Morgan) and a silver-tongued shyster (George Meeker), Condon operates a private maternity home where he rakes in the dough until a pre-paid baby is stillborn. Intent on keeping the cash, he hands over his sister-in-law’s newborn instead, a baby-switching scheme that soon gives way to frame-ups, fallouts and murder. The type of film the majors would avoid lest it harm their mainstream reputation, Black Market Babies is a prime example of the controversial programmers only a B movie studio like Monogram Pictures could make. Based on a December 1944 Woman’s Home Companion article that was reprinted in Reader’s Digest, this searing drama is both cutting-edge and exploitative, a lurid expos? that’s lost none of its power to shock.

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