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Idealistic attorney Anton Adam makes headlines when he successfully prosecutes a prominent New York racketeer named Gilmurry. Adam's sudden renown attracts the attention of high-profile legal eagle Granville Bentley, who asks Adam to become a partner in his law firm. But Adam's rising career takes a nosedive when he's framed by Gilmurry and a sexy actress in a trumped-up breach of promise suit. The only constant in Adam's life is the loyalty and unrequited love of his secretary Olga. Written by
Good legal precode in the Warner Brothers tradition
This film moves too fast for introspective angst or art design to be an issue, so if you want that go watch an MGM or Paramount film of the period. Instead the film focuses on rapid fire dialog and keeping the plot moving. What makes this one a cut above most films of the early 30's are the players, in particular the dapper and charming William Powell as East Side lawyer Tony Adam and brassy Joan Blondell as Olga, his secretary who wants things to be more than they are between herself and Tony. Sparks do fly from time to time, and when they do it just doesn't quite work on the romantic level - rather like picturing James Cagney and Myrna Loy as romantic leads in a film.
When the film opens Tony is a lawyer with a hole in the wall office on the East Side of New York City. He's defending neighborhood hoods and ripped off struggling businessmen, but he wants more - he wants to be a big shot. He gets what he wants and then some and the film shows his trek through the ups and downs of an uptown practice, his run-ins with the corrupt political boss of the city that can't decide if he wants to hire Tony or rub him out, and the high society ladies who use him and lose him along the way.
The final speech by Tony as he makes a crucial career decision will have you going huh?? where did that come from?? as there has been no indication that Tony is learning anything from any of this up to the last two minutes. Still it's enjoyable to see darts flying from Joan Blondell's eyes and William Powell unruffled in the the face of bullets, ballots, or blackmail. I'd recommend this one to anyone who enjoys the precodes, and in particular the fast moving WB precodes.
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