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An honest police captain named McQuigg becomes a tough rival to a powerful bootlegger named Scarsi, even though McQuigg's pinches never stick because Scarsi and his organization control the corrupt politicians and judges. When Scarsi can't scare McQuigg off, he gets him transferred to a quiet police precinct in the suburbs, but McQuigg continues their war of words via a pair of wisecracking newspaper reporters. Then McQuigg catches a huge break when Scarsi's younger brother gets picked up for a hit and run accident in his precinct, putting in motion a complex plan to bring down the mobster using the reporters, a nightclub singing gold digger, the upcoming elections and Scari's own organization. Written by
This has been resurrected courtesy of Turner Classic Movies, the University of Nevada, et al. (in pretty good shape, too) in a nicely done digital restoration, complete with a good score. If you get a chance to see it, you might want to take a chance: in spite of it being a silent (I consider that a handicap), it's an entertaining film, with a lot to like.
There's fine acting, especially by Louis Wolheim as the main gangster, whose face is so expressive you don't miss the sound as long as he's on screen. Marie Prevost and 'Skeets' Gallagher turn in solid supporting performances. There's clever dialogue: very good given the constraints silent films inherently have.
Personally, I thought the best feature is the wonderful cinematography. Rarely does the camera technique look dated or technically primitive, and many scenes are as well done as any since. The use of dissolves and interesting angles was delightful, and there are even a couple (surprising, to me) attempts at zooms that come off alright. Obviously a good director/cinematographer team. The overall look of the film is fresh and clear.
The story is pretty entertaining and the characters are brought to life, making me glad this film was brought back to life as well.
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