The light I associate with that look uses Photoflood bulbs in spun aluminum reflectors--12-inch or 16-inch most likely. The positioning of the lighting isn't likely to be too complex, maybe Rembrandt style with a fill and a background light, possibly a hair light. This was before softboxes, but there were umbrellas and scrims, but I think you're after more of a low-end look (as opposed to the Hollywood style which could draw on all the lighting resources of a Los Angeles movie studio). See if you can find an old copy of the Kodak Guide to Portraiture or whatever it was called--the one that recommends a blue filter for B&W portraits of rugged sailors to bring out the "character" in their faces.