Lou Ricarno is a smart guy. His plan is to organize the various gangs in Chicago so that the mugs will not liquidate each other. WIth the success of his leadership, Louie prospers, marries ... See full summary »
Small time con artist Lefty Merrill has co-organized a crooked dance marathon and set-up his girlfriend to win the prize money. When his partner disappears with money before the contest is ... See full summary »
Famous motor-racing champion Joe Greer returns to his hometown to compete in a local race. He discovers his younger brother has aspirations to become a racing champion and during the race ... See full summary »
Ex-convict Danny Kean decides to become honest as a photographer for a paper. He falls in love with Patricia, the daughter of the policeman who arrested him. Mr Nolan, her father, doesn't ... See full summary »
Young boxer Jim Kane, resting at a New Mexico "health ranch," meets and falls for Peggy Harmon, former nightclub table singer...who needs $600 more for her sickly son to stay in the place. ... See full summary »
Automaker James Alden is told to retire by his doctors and does so in deference to his wife Laura and daughter 'Babs.' He is not only bored after six months, but is told by a life insurance salesman that retired men are bad risks. So James secretly responds to an ad in the newspaper about a garage being for sale, but he (using the alias Charlie Miller) buys only half of the garage, since the other half was already sold to Bill Merrick, who becomes his partner. The ex-owner, Peterson, was dishonest in not revealing he was opening a new gas station near the new highway a mile down the road where most of the traffic will be. Not willing to be slickered by anybody, Charlie and Bill buy and elegantly rebuild a decrepit building across the street from Peterson's new station and compete handily with the charlatan. James uses a pretense to get away every day, but wonders how long he can keep up his double life. Written by
Arthur Hausner <email@example.com>
The gentle humor of this film is balanced by a certain amount of social conscience, making it even as a dated story something moderately charming. Set in California during the Great Depression, it is pure fantasy of the kind much needed in movie-houses during those dark days. Although it is now rare in our decadent corporate epoch to find a happy and generous -- not to say intelligent -- millionaire free of the desire to line his own pockets at the expense of his employees, the character as played by George Arliss transcends mere capitalism and inspires us to higher purposes.
Cameos by James Cagney and Wallace Beery provide some historical flavor for film buffs, as do some truly grand vintage automobiles going in and out of the service stations central to the story. Though that story remains thin and improbable, it is fast-paced and directed with élan. My own appreciation was enhanced by noting at the outset the name of Booth Trarkington as one of the writers. He was without a doubt one of the finest popular novelists of the early twentieth century, now largely forgotten. The playful tone he employed in the "Penrod" stories is much evident here.
A very fine production for 1931.
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