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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Family's Shame

Author: boblipton from New York City
2 June 2006

The Tucker family has fallen on hard times and is down to their dilapidated home, their last dollar and the last chicken in the yard, when home comes their last hope: Roscoe Karns, who takes the last dollar to pay the cab fare, eats the chicken and gets a job running a roulette wheel at the local dance hall.

King Vidor's movies always told their stories in strong visual terms, and the cinematography by Ira Morgan in this work is beautiful and compelling: Florence Vidor is, unsurprisingly, shot lovingly in closeup. However, Mr. Vidor also had a strong streak of melodrama verging on bathos and that is also in evidence here: Roscoe Karns' exit from the courtroom near the end is ludicrous.

Also worthy of a little mockery is the performance by Charles Meredith as the juvenile. With his Harold Lloyd glasses, imposing physique, movie job as a reporter and passive manner, he suggests Clark Kent. Furthermore, although he is supposed to be in love with Florence Vidor, he seems to spend most of his time gazing at Roscoe Karns, and shows a most peculiar agitation when it appears that Karns will be hanged for murder.

Well, even Jove nods and you need to see Vidor's excesses to appreciate how sometimes they can work brilliantly. Certainly the movie is beautiful and while I cannot recommend the story, the pictures are worth the price of admission.

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