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Gang War (1928) - Tragic Loss

Author: Pamela Short from Canada
17 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This 1928 crime/drama starred Jack Pickford and Olive Borden. It was a part-talkie, filmed silent, with talking sequences added to increase the film's box office appeal. Sadly this film is now lost and remains overshadowed by it's shared billing with Steamboat Willie, the first sound film to feature Mickey Mouse.

One night saxophone player Clyde ( Jack Pickford ), who performs on the San Francisco Bay waterfront, meets Flowers ( Olive Borden ), and teaches her to dance, but finds that "Blackjack" (Eddie Gribbon), the leader of a ruthless gang, is also in love with her. Despite the intense turf war between "Blackjack" and a rival gangster named Mike Luego (Walter Long), "Blackjack" wins the heart of Flowers and marries her, but without consummating the marriage. Clyde is eventually able to win "Blackjack" over however, and "Blackjack" sacrifices himself to protect Clyde and Flowers from Luego.

Photoplay Review - Olive Borden and Jack Pickford are teamed for romance in this likable crook melodrama. This is Olive's first appearance with bobbed hair, which may account for her new abandon and better acting. Eddie Gribbon, erstwhile comedian, turns dramatic and gives us thrills instead of laughs as he plays leader of one of the bootleg gangs. He and Jack are cast as rivals, but what chance has a fighter against a "sobbing saxophone singer"? Good entertainment.

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