Cafe Hostess

Cafe Hostess is a 1940 American crime film directed by Sidney Salkow and starring Preston Foster and Ann Dvorak. The screenplay was written by Harold Shumate, based on a story by Tay Garnett and Howard Higgin. Prior to filming the studio had been warned by the MPAA that the film did not comply with its code, but it is unclear whether changes were made to the script.


Jo is a hostess, also known as a "B" girl (a euphemism for a prostitute), in a "cliphouse", a seedy waterfront nightclub where the patrons are set up for a pickpocket operation. The club is owned by Eddie Morgan, who keeps an eye on things by posing as the piano player. A former hostess, Annie, returns to the club in order to tell Morgan off and let him know that he ruined her life. Not getting satisfaction, she attempts to get Jo to turn witness against Morgan in order to get him arrested, but Jo is too afraid. While there, Annie witnesses Jo being treated roughly by a local hood, Red Connolly (William Pawley), who she accosts, which turns into a brawl.