Judge Moffett is as crooked as they come and the Board of Judicial Corruption is after him. So he hides out in the poor part of town. While there, she drops the bankbook that Moffett has ... See full summary »
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W.S. Van Dyke
Judge Moffett is as crooked as they come and the Board of Judicial Corruption is after him. So he hides out in the poor part of town. While there, she drops the bankbook that Moffett has listing his accounts and Mary returns it to him. But Moffett thinks Mary saw the book and he puts her away for six months on a trumped up charge. Mike is overcome with grief and when he comes to his senses, he talks to Mary who tells him about the book. This gets Mike beat up and put on a boat to South America, but he jumps ship and plots his revenge. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Night Court was a slight, but interesting, entry in the pre-code genre of social commentary or expose´ films of the early 1930s I would say the same group that included the seminal `Public Enemy'. What made this film a joy to watch was not the revelatory peek of criminal machinations pervading the lower levels of the NYC justice system, but the relationship between the cabbie and his wife, unfettered by Production Code standards in effect just a few years later. The scenes of Mike and Mary and their baby in the one bedroom flat they shared were charming, and Anita Page evoked a warmth and naturalism uncommon in those days when the talkie was only 3 years old. No wonder she's still working 70 years later! Walter Huston was downright despicable, and his speeches to his night court denizens about maintaining law and order were rather chilling considering the depth of his criminal manipulations of the justice system. And the setting up of Mary Thomas as a prostitute to discredit her was an eye-opener and quite frank. The film moved along at a good clip, facilitated in no small measure I'm sure by the breezy direction of `One-Take' Woody Van Dyke who had a reputation for bringing a film ahead of schedule and under budget. Perhaps it is for this reason that scenes play out naturalistically, with the actors given what appears to be some latitude with the dialogue and action in order to move things along. Some occasional hammy acting doesn't really detract from the pre-code forthrightness of the picture.
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