Like Gangster Pictures? "Afraid To Talk" may be the best of this genre ever made. It tells a story of corruption in which traditional ethical guidelines are erased, in which there are no 'good guys' or 'bad guys'- they're all bad. It was directed in breathtaking and expert fashion by Edward L. Cahn, who directed many crummy B's of the 50's and 60's, and this must be his best picture.This is a pre-code gangster picture and by my reckoning better than "Public Enemy" or "Little Caesar" and despite the fact that there is no big name gangster-type star here.
In addition, this is a Universal production, which goes against the 30's Hollywood slogan that, "If it's a Universal it's a Horror". Somehow this backwater studio produced this taut, well-acted, hard-hitting movie and did it in 72 minutes worth of film. The baddest of the bad guys is Louis Calhern, doing his dastardly best (or worst) as a treacherous Asst.District Attorney. In this corner, as a hapless hotel bellhop, is Eric Linden, who is married to munchkin-like Sidney Fox, in a thankless role as a housewife. Other career crooked politicians in the cast are Berton Churchill, Edward Arnold and Robert Warwick. Look for Mayo Methot, Bogie's first wife,as a gang moll.
Afraid To Talk has never, to anyones or any publications knowledge, been shown on TV, and is not available in any format except 35MM. Do not miss it if the opportunity ever arises. I was also impressed to learn of the existence of political corruption elsewhere - I'm from N.J. and I thought we invented it.
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