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However, unlike some of the fast-paced Lee Tracy vehicles from the same era, the newsroom of a big city paper is really just the back-drop for a coming of age tale that ends up in tragedy.
Lew Ayres plays Robert Marshall, one of the men working at the printing press putting out the daily news, but he longs to be a writer. Frank McHugh plays reporter Collins, who for some reason is always drunk and always broke. This routine gets old in a hurry, but fortunately he's not on screen too long. Just long enough to meet young Bob and get him a job on the paper. Don't get me wrong, I love McHugh over at Warner Brothers later on, but the drunk routine here was just too much. He does sober up at the end, though, when the circumstances call for it.
Bob is only 20, and he is full of the idealism of youth, having always wanted to be a writer. Bob's mother is proud of her son's new job, and when he mentions that he'll have Sundays off so they can take drives in the country together, his mother realistically predicts that Bob will soon have a girlfriend and that she expects to fall into the background as far as his free time and attention go. However, the actual girlfriend that materializes is a far cry from what mom had in mind.
Genevieve Tobin plays Myra Deane, writer of the society column of the paper. She's a beautiful woman used to beautiful things, but her family has lost all of its money. She has traded on her remaining assets to become the mistress of a wealthy -and permanently married - man, William Winter, the owner of the paper, with all the monetary benefits that come with it. One night Myra needs an escort to a society ball, and the city editor barks out to a sheepish Bob that he will be her date. Bob is instantly smitten with sophisticated Myra, and he projects all of his youthful ideals upon their romance. However, one night Bob goes to Myra's apartment unannounced and finds Myra with Winter. He's heard the rumors and not believed them, but he can't deny what he sees, and a confrontation ensues that ends violently.
The odd thing about this film is that the two leading ladies - Genevieve Tobin as Bob's girlfriend and Dorothy Peterson as Bob's mother - are actually only two years apart in age, yet they are made up to look decades apart. Most remarkable is that Dorothy Peterson was only 33 when this movie was made, yet looks, speaks, and moves like a woman of about 50. Ms. Tobin is playing a woman much closer to her own actual age. Lew Ayres is very good in this one and carries the lead well, especially at the end when he is in such despair over his actions and lack of judgment that he literally does not care if he lives or dies. Highly recommended.
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