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Nan, a racketeer's daughter, is in love with The Kid, a shooting gallery showman. Despite Nan's prodding, The Kid has no ambitions about joining the rackets and making enough money to support Nan in the lifestyle she's accustomed to. Her attitude changes after her father implicates her in a murder and she's sent to prison. During her incarceration, her father convinces The Kid to join the gang in order to help free Nan. When Nan is released, she wants nothing more to do with the mob and tries to get The Kid to quit, but she may be too late. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
I saw this film last night at a "pre-Code" film festival, and I have to tell you that when Gary Cooper turned his head for his introductory close-up, the entire audience gasped. He was just that beautiful.
Cooper's looks aside, this film displays Rouben Mamoulian's directorial artistry to perfection. Wonderful scene-fades, creative camera angles, symbolic allusions--Mamoulian just keeps exploring the directorial medium and coming up with innovation.
This was Sylvia Sidney's first role in Hollywood, after her success on the New York stage, and she is just as lovely as a Gary Cooper leading lady ought to be. It's nice to see her in a role with a harder edge than many she was given--so often she looks like she's afraid she's about to be hit by someone.
There are lots of familiar faces in this film, including the wonderful Wynne Gibson. Most striking is Guy Kibbee, best known for playing fatuous rich men, as a grinning and mendacious hit-man.
There aren't nearly enough of these pre-Code films available on VHS or DVD, so if you can't find a pre-Code festival near you, try campaigning Turner Classic Movies for a broadcast! As for the reviewer who believes Gary Cooper was too stupid to have dialogue more complex than "Yep" or "Nope," he should perhaps consider Coop's performance in films such as "Mr Deeds Goes to Town" or "Meet John Doe." Although heaven knows anyone who looked that good shouldn't have to be smart as well.
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