Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
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A motorcycle policeman's partner is deliberately run off the road and killed by a member of a syndicate that controls the gambling--and much of the justice system--in his town. When the ... See full summary »
After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.
William A. Wellman
Raymond Dabney returns to his family after trouble with the law. He convinces the sheriff to give him a job watching the house and furniture of widow Crystal Wetherby without knowing she is... See full summary »
The Beast Of The City finds Walter Huston cast as a crusading and honest cop, possibly too rigidly honest. His character is a whole lot like Kirk Douglas's detective in Detective Story that would come out a generation later.
The film also borrows a lot from westerns at the time. Huston's unknown western city is ruled by gangster Jean Hersholt who is apparently untouchable as far as the law is concerned. A whole lot like real life gangsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano who were coming into prominence.
Huston's family life is secure enough, wife Dorothy Peterson, a few kids among them a young Mickey Rooney. He also has his younger and weaker brother Wallace Ford living with them. Ford's got a real good deal, no rent and he apparently chases a lot of skirts. That proves to be his downfall and eventually Huston's.
The skirt that did them in belonged to Jean Harlow. Jean was never a better mantrap in her career than she is The Beast Of The City. Wallace Ford turns out to be putty in her hands.
Also note another good performance in The Beast Of The City is that of Tully Marshall who plays Hersholt's lawyer. The word shyster was invented for lawyers like Marshall, but he's good to have on your side especially if you're guilty as sin.
The climax is an unforgettable one and one more typical to a western than a modern drama. It's what makes The Beast Of The City a classic that is too rarely seen today.
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