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Confessions of a Vice Baron


On the eve of his execution, a vice-rackets bigshot (Willy Castello) recalls his various exploits in crimes such as abortion and white slavery, in which he frequently operated under an alias.

Confessions of a Vice Baron is a 1943 American film directed by S. Roy Luby, William A. O'Connor, Melville Shyer and Herman E. Webber. The film was edited from footage from Mad Youth (1940), The Wages of Sin (1938 film) (1938), Smashing the Vice Trust (1937), Race Suicide (1937) and The Pace That Kills (1935). Willy Castello appears in each of these films except for The Pace That Kills.
The film is also known as Skid Row (American reissue title).

Plot summary

Notorious mob boss James "Lucky" Lombardi looks back upon his life and career on the night of his execution.
The flashbacks picks up when Lucky, born and raised on the Balkan Peninsula, tries to marry into money and goes to the U.S. to find himself a wealthy bride. He has no luck, despite his name, and instead makes an attempt to bluff his way forward, pretending to be count De Kloven, a rich aristocrat.
As De Kloven, Lucky gets hired to escort the prominent socialite Mrs. Lola Morgan, but quits when she wants him to be her lover. Instead he tries a new disguise, as Rudolph Von Hertsen, and gets involved in another racket with a Dr. J.M. Randall, performing abortions and selling unwanted babies.
When the racket is disclosed, Lucky moves on to the business of pimping young women into prostitution. He goes as far as to trick naive young women into laying their lives in his hands, selling them as sex-slaves, thus entering into the business of white slavery. He soon becomes the head of such an organization.
His right-arm man, Nick goes to lengths to get new merchandise for the business, and kidnaps Dorothy, a young, blonde schoolgirl. The election of a new ambitious district attorney causes Lucky problems, but he uses to slow down.
Lucky falls in love with a beautiful woman named Lois, but his affections are not returned, and she has to run for her life from his long lawless arms, with the help of one of Lucky's more goodhearted men, Harry. When Lucky discovers what Harry has done he has him killed, and is ultimately arrested and convicted of murder. The new district attorney manages to get him sentenced to death.
We return from the flashbacks to present time, where Lucky has learned his lesson: that crime doesn't pay.<></>


  • Willy Castello as Lucky Lombardi aka Count de Hoven / Van Hersten / Kilonis
  • Lloyd Ingraham as J.M. Randall, alias Dr. Havens (edited from Race Suicide) (archive footage)
  • Lona Andre as Florence Davis (edited from Race Suicide) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Dean Benton as Harry, a young henchman (edited from Smashing the Vice Trust) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Betty Compson as Mrs. Lucy Morgan (edited from Mad Youth) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Lester Dorr as Eddie's henchman (edited from Smashing the Vice Trust) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Sam Flint as Martin Standish, gang lawyer (edited from Smashing the Vice Trust) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Selmer Jackson as The District Attorney (edited from Smashing the Vice Trust) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Donald Kerr as Man at Party House (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Noel Madison as Nick, Procurer at Nightclub (edited from The Pace That Kills) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Veola Vonn as Lois, the nice girl (edited from Smashing the Vice Trust) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Constance Worth as Judy (edited from Wages of Sin) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Carleton Young as Bruce, Judy's date (edited from Wages of Sin) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Clara Kimball Young as Fat Pearl (edited from Wages of Sin) (archive footage) (uncredited)


  • Nona Lee - ":File:The Cocaine Fiends (1935) - Nona Lee.jpg" (in footage from The Pace That Kills)

  • Category:1943 films
    Category:American films
    Category:American drama films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:1940s drama films
    Willis Kent

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