An elderly couple move into an old, supposedly haunted abandoned house. A young girl comes to live with the pair as a companion for the wife. However, soon the girl is possessed by the ... See full summary »
Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.
Young Lena Rivers, who was born out of wedlock, goes to live with a rich uncle. Unfortunately, her uncle's wife and daughter make no secret of their dislike of Lena and that they don't want her in their family.
In a trim and workmanlike 70 minutes, we get barnstorming theatricals, an unfaithful wife, a bastard child, a hotel fire, a circus fire, a speakeasy brawl, and crackling pre-Code dialogue, including this reminiscence from an ex-roustabout: "Why, when I was with the circus, if you had only one black eye they thought you was a pansy!" Victor Schertzinger achieves some resourceful directorial tricks, not always placing the camera where you expect and injecting some expressionistic touches. The cast is game, with Claire Windsor a particular delight as the rotten, selfish wife who gets bumped off in the second reel.
It's a Poverty Row epic -- from Tiffany Studios, to be precise -- but it has what they used to call moxie. And the quick pace and unflinching Depression milieu recall Warners-First National at its best.
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