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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Excellent If Neglected Example of the Seamy Side of State Fair

8/10
Author: JohnHowardReid
1 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An excellent but neglected example of a seamy carnival or State Fair, is The Spieler (1928), in the which the lovely Renee Adoree tries to clean up her graft-ridden sideshow alley in which rubes are set upon right, left and center by grifters and pickpockets led by that ace of heavies, Fred Kohler. A remarkably handsome and presentable jailbird, Alan Hale, playing the title role with considerable charisma, comes to her rescue. Assisted by that lively stuntman-comedian Clyde Cook, Hale falls for adorable Renee (and who will blame him?) and decides to reform. Unfortunately, Killer Kohler has other plans.

Tightly written and powerfully directed by Tay Garnett, The Spieler whips up plenty of suspense, presenting the viewer with three or four really terrifying moments in its short running time.

Arthur Miller's atmospheric photography still comes across effectively, while an appropriate music score and sound effects add to the movie's intrinsic appeal.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Could This Have Been Alan Hale's Best Role???

8/10
Author: kidboots from Australia
18 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even though the print I saw was ghastly (the titles were indecipherable) it was pretty clear that Tay Garnett was a great new directorial talent. He had started out as a writer on a couple of Harry Langdon features ("The Strong Man" and "Long Pants") and as a reward Pathe let him direct. He developed into a man's director and this movie, only his second, proved a showcase for the talents of Alan Hale, Clyde Cook and the menacing Fred Kohler.

Even though the titles I could make out seemed to be flip remarks and wisecracks, there were a lot I couldn't see and it did impede the narrative. Flash and "Perfesser" (Alan Hale and Clyde Cook), a couple of con men think they can evade the police by finding a job in the only cleanly run carnival in town - Cleo's (ravishing Renee Adoree). She is fighting hard to keep her carnival respectable and honest and Flash, being completely smitten with Cleo, vows to keep it that way - at first!! But old habits die hard and he and his mate are soon sucked into a scheme run by Red Moon (was there ever a more threatening villain than Fred Kohler) who fleeces unsuspecting customers by picking their pockets. When Flash sees the light and threatens to expose Red, he organises a payroll robbery where Flash will be blamed courtesy of a dropped cigarette lighter. "Perfesser" overhears but has to go on to do his high wire act before he can inform on them. Unfortunately he was seen and that is all the incentive the villains need to fix the "Perfesser" so he will talk no more!!

Renee Adoree must have been going through a career low as she definitely plays second fiddle to Alan Hale (this may have been his best role), Clyde Cook (who originally was an acrobat) and Fred Kohler, who made every scene count!!

Also the print I saw was about 75 minutes, not the 62 minutes mentioned.

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