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A wealthy but neurotic Southern belle finds herself trapped in the hideout of a gang of vicious bootleggers. The gang's leader lusts after her, and is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his having her.
Jack La Rue
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
The first scene is startling - two shadows walk past an old billboard advertising Wonder Bread - "sliced - just say Wonder cut". Mary is a street walker - her mannerisms show that she is new to it. Later on she explains that she was a dancer who lost her place and this is her first night on the job. Joe is a young man Mary first assumes to be drunk - then she notices blood in his hair. He has committed a robbery - he has $20,000 and wants to live life to the full, then when the money runs out he will shoot himself. Mary helps divert the police by putting him in bed and pretending he is a customer - even by pre-code standards it is pretty racy.
He asks Mary to go with him, and that's when it falls flat. It loses its grittiness when they start to live it up at a Palm Springs resort. Something went wrong with the story about 2 down and outers who grab their chance of happiness regardless of the price.
The establishing shot of the resort is great - firstly showing the orchestra and lastly the dance floor, where Mary (with a beautiful new look) and Joe are dancing. Nancy Carroll is absolutely gorgeous whether as a down on her luck dancer or among the idle rich. She has a few really good scenes - when she is trying to convince the police Joe is just a customer, when she is reminiscing about her life, telling Joe what she wants out of life and the sequence where she gambles her last $1,000, thinking it is her last night on earth.
Even though with 3 films together ("The Devil's Holiday", "Stolen Heaven" and "The Man I Killed") they were a team (sort of) Holmes didn't seem very comfortable in their scenes together. Nancy came up trumps but Holmes struggled and made the dialogue ("they'll never take me alive") sound trite which it was. May be he was out of his depth. Frederic March would have made a much more believable Joe. Nancy and Phillips certainly win the award as the most beautiful couple in the movies. Louis Calhern does well as the cad that comes good.
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