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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

George Rosener as Milton Parsons.

9/10
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales
27 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS AHEAD. I must disagree with my IMDb colleague Bob Lipton, who says that Dickie Moore gets his legs chopped off in this movie. There's a very convincing special-effects sequence in which little Dickie's go-cart gets run over by a stolen car, and there's some dialogue in hospital about Dickie being crippled, but in the last scene he's walking quite nicely. (Child actor Moore gives a very impressive performance here, unlike several cinema brats I could mention.)

'The Devil Is Driving' is a neat B-picture crime drama, in which the spiral ramp of a service garage figures several times in the plot. I was impressed with Henry Sharp's travelling shot of a speeding car up this ramp. Edmund Lowe starts the movie by cheeking a midget bridegroom (step forward, Tod Browning), so I figured Lowe was playing an unsympathetic character, but he turns out to be the hero. James Gleason plays slightly more crooked than usual, as a character improbably named 'Beef' even though there's clearly not much beef on Gleason's frame. Gleason's character gets murdered halfway through the movie, but Gleason remains on camera (in close-up) for some process shots as an automotive corpse, 'driving' a car down that ramp and into traffic. Speaking of undersized actors, little Charles Williams has a larger role than usual here, as a brash newsreel cameraman.

Among the great pleasures of 1930s Hollywood films are unexpected performances by obscure bit-part actors who are just occasionally given a chance to shine. The real discovery of 'The Devil Is Driving' is George Rosener (who?), as a sinister deaf-mute henchman of spiv villain Alan Dinehart. If this movie had been made ten years later, Rosener's role would have been tailor-made for the great character actor Milton Parsons. As it is, Rosener -- who strongly resembles Parsons -- gives an astonishingly virtuoso performance in a role with no dialogue at all.

Why isn't this programmer better known? And why didn't Rosener get better roles? I'll rate 'The Devil Is Driving' 9 out of 10.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The devil is in the details

5/10
Author: boblipton from New York City
27 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A potentially fascinating story about love and the rackets is rendered into second feature mush by pedestrian direction. You have snappy dialogue, a midget, a criminal gang masterminded by a deaf-mute who communicates via pantograph within the first ten minutes. You're talking about von Sternberg meets Todd Browning here, and the director can't think of anything more interesting than have James Gleason murdered by carbon monoxide poisoning offscreen, which, of course, makes him sit up straight and stare ahead. And poor little Dickie Moore, with his legs chopped off. But it's OK, Edmund Lowe thrashes the baddies at the end and marries Wynne Gibson.

Heck. I've given it all away. You'd never expect a happy ending like that. Save your heart from such shocks and give this one a miss.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Dickie Moore is Adorable

7/10
Author: Maliejandra Kay (Maleejandra@yahoo.com) from United States
30 May 2009

"Beef" Evans (James Gleason) works in a crooked garage. He takes in hot cars because he wants his wife and son to have the best things in life, but his wife worries about the consequences of his actions. Rightfully so. His new hire, "Gabby" Denton (Edmund Lowe) has his own concerns, and starts investigating the details of the racket.

I saw this movie screened at Cinevent 41, and for most of the movie, the sound was out of sync. If I were too bored, I would have left, but I couldn't miss out on seeing Dickie Moore in a rare film. Even when his voice didn't match his expressions, I found myself awwing for his innocence in spite of his predictable role in the story.

This is a standard programmer with strong ties to the crime drama genre. If you're a fan of cars and pre-codes, find a copy.

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