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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Effective drama about moral choice

8/10
Author: Robert Keser (rfkeser@ix.netcom.com) from Chicago
14 January 2002

Intelligent drama benefits from literate script and a sensitive central performance by Paul Lukas, well cast as a diplomat blackmailed by corrupt vice cops into entrapping prostitutes. Lukas nicely balances a shabby gentility with despair as he's driven to drink in lowdown Greenwich Village dives to forget his "dirty" job. Choosing between sleek Kay Francis and blonde Judith Wood presents a romantic dilemma paralleling the moral decision he must make. Esther Howard--a longtime character actress and Preston Sturges favorite--here looks unrecognizably youthful as a salty-tongued artist's model.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Vicious Vice Squad...

8/10
Author: binapiraeus from Greece
21 April 2014

Now THIS pre-Code movie is a clear and courageous accusation of the wrongs in American society in the early 30s if ever there was one: a DIRECT attack on the 'famous' Vice Squad and its methods for bringing as many 'party girls' (a euphemism for prostitutes) to 'justice' in order to protect American morals. It doesn't hesitate to depict their way of 'working' in detail: they pick men in need, or in trouble with the law, as stool pigeons to trap the unsuspecting girls and catch them 'in flagranti' - in this case, the forced stool pigeon is a former member of a foreign embassy, who got innocently involved in a murder case; and for two years, he's being used by the ruthless police captain to ruin the lives of countless girls, until he literally can't look at himself in the mirror anymore, becomes an alcoholic, and attempts suicide. He's saved by a nice, innocent young girl - but very soon, she becomes a target of the 'Vice Squad' as well; and only he can save her reputation, by telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...

With the help of an excellent cast and a first-class script and direction, "Vice Squad" became one of the VERY few movies (and of course, it would under NO circumstances have been granted a seal three years later) that OPENLY, and in NO way humorously, accuses the police methods as well as the overall social odds during the first years of the Great Depression; it will forever remain a time document for everyone to see - just in case history books might be altered over the years and the social evils of the era should be 'whitewashed'...

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