The True Story Of Lynn Stuart 1958 Film Noir Crime Drama – Betsy Palmer, Jack Lord, Lewis Seiler

Starring Jack Lord, of Hawaii Five-0 fame, Betsy Palmer, and Barry Atwater, this biographical crime drama is based on the true story of a young Santa Ana, California, housewife, sit back and enjoy as the story unfolds…

Stars: Betsy Palmer, Jack Lord, Barry Atwater
Director: Lewis Seiler
Writers: John Kneubuhl, Pat Michaels

Marking the final directorial effort of Lewis Seiler, it dramatizes the true story of a young Santa Ana, California, housewife who became a volunteer undercover narcotics agent in the 1950s. The woman, known publicly only by the pseudonym Lynn Stuart to protect her from possible reprisals, served in that capacity for six years and provided information which ultimately led to approximately 30 drug-related convictions.

In a prologue, Edmund “Pat” Brown, who was the California Attorney General at the time of the film’s production, makes a statement directly to the viewer, attesting to the veracity of the film’s story and to the societal scourge presented by drug trafficking.

Actual events
In the film, the exact amount of time that Lynn Stuart is involved with the drug gang is not specified, but it seems to be not more than a matter of weeks; the actual woman known as Lynn Stuart maintained her undercover identity for six years. In the film, she is supplied with an apartment separate from her actual home with her family, and the gang members know only the apartment as her residence; in reality, her actual family residence was known to gang members with whom she was involved.

In the film, the death of her nephew serves as the catalyst for her offer to go undercover; in reality, she cited only the fear that the drug trade might negatively affect her own sons when they became teenagers. The film depicts Stuart as merely an observer of the gang’s illegal activities prior to her being pulled into the hijacking on her last day; in reality she was more actively involved in the activities, including making drug purchases.[1]

Production notes
The actual woman known as Lynn Stuart served as a technical adviser for the film, whose original title was The Other Life of Lynn Stuart. Stuart made a point to mask herself when visiting the set. Since Stuart had left her undercover identity without those she had helped convict knowing the truth about her, Columbia Pictures made the film with the stipulation that the company would not allow it to be screened in any California prisons, to help prevent inmates incarcerated because of Stuart’s actions from deducing that she had betrayed them.

The True Story of Lynn Stuart marked the first feature film appearance by later television star Gavin MacLeod, who had a small, uncredited role as a member of the drug gang.

Stan’s Drive-In, 4480 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA(drive-in where Phyllis/Lynn worked, demolished)

“I DON’T DARE SHOW MY FACE!” (original print ad – all caps)

Working Title The Grasshopper, Originally titled The Other Life of Lynn Stuart

The story is based on actual facts. The woman known as Lynn Stuart served as technical adviser for the film, masking herself when visiting the set.

The veteran cop refers to the well-known Orange County CA community as Garden Groves (plural), instead of its actual name of Garden Grove.

IMDB Review by vilenciaproductions – Jan 6, 2021
True Story Indeed! Love this great picture! You will too!
This picture rocks! Bought a 16mm print of this great movie and we’re projecting it again for 2021! Love Betsy Palmer, Love Jack Lord! Love Edmund G. Brown! Sure wish we had a guy like him around today! Film director Lewis Seiler does an excellent job at the helm, turns out to be his last film! What a shame! See it on film if you can! The best way to watch a great black and white motion picture! Another gem from Columbia Pictures! Can’t wait until the projector and screen are set up!

I nade English subtitles for this film, YouTube should automatically translate those into other languages quite well.

0:00:00 REEL ONE
0:20:00 REEL TWO
0:40:00 REEL THREE
1:00:00 REEL FOUR

Main Cast:
Betsy Palmer – Phyllis Carter, also known as Lynn Stuart
Jack Lord – Willie Down
Barry Atwater – Lt. Jim Hagan
Edmund G. Brown – Himself
Kim Spalding – Ralph Carter
Karl Lukas – Hal Bruck
Casey Walters – Eddie Dine
Claudia Bryar – Nora Efron
John Anderson – “Doc”
Rita Duncan – Sue
Lee Farr – Ben
Louis Towers – Jimmie Carter
James Maloney – Dr. Freeley
Carlos Romero – Fred
Artie Lewis – Gus
Gavin MacLeod – Turk
Linda Cherney – Car hop
Don Devlin – The Kid
Edward Le Veque – Father Albert
Than Wyenn – Nat (uncredited)

Technical Details:
Directed by Lewis Seiler
Written by John H. Kneubuhl
Produced by Bryan Foy
Cinematography Burnett Guffey
Edited by Saul A. Goodkind
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date March 8, 1958
Running time 78 minutes
Aspect ratio 1.85 : 1
Country United States
Language English

Thanks to IMDB & Wikipedia for much of this information.