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 ... See full summary »
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
A Pre-Code movie that would be G-rated by today's standards, "Lawyer Man" is entertaining and good fun but should be billed as a drama/comedy, if you can imagine such. It moves very quickly as its star, William Powell, goes from honest, hard-working lawyer to shyster and back in 72 easy minutes. The problem is that, apart from Powell, all the other characters are two-dimensional, and are seemingly there for Powell to bounce lines off. David Landau, especially, was criminally wasted (no pun intended) as the 'big boss' and king-maker. Despite his role, he was likable while enduring endless insults from Powell. Most men in his position probably would have had Powell 'rubbed out' early on.
That said, there is a lot to like in this picture. First off, there is Powell himself, elegant and dapper while miscast as a lower East Side lawyer representing lower class shlubs. There is also Joan Blondell, in her customary role as the torch-bearing secretary overlooked by Powell. There is Alan Dinehart, an excellent 30's character actor with a part that was too small for his talent. Despite the seriousness of the plot, much of it is played for laughs. In one amusing scene, two hit men turn soft in a goofy confrontation with Powell. Throw in some laughs via Blondell wise cracks, and you have a basically good-natured movie which I would rate a seven.
P.S. Do you like old standards? This picture has some of the best you can hear nowadays on the soundtrack, played in the background by a 30's band.
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