12 million Americans are out of work. Trina is homeless and hungry when Bill takes her under his wing, showing her a squatter's camp where she can live. She's soon in love with him, making a castle for him inside a shack; but he's bluff, gruff, and a "bindlestiff," a guy who can't stay put. When Trina tells Bill she's pregnant, he's ready to jump a freight train and move on, but first he wants to leave Trina with some money, so he partners up with Bragg, the camp's louse (who's been eyeing Trina), to rob a toy store. He's shot and the cops are closing in: does he have any options? Written by
Wearing a tuxedo during the Depression, smoking Spencer Tracy (as Bill) picks up starving Loretta Young (as Trina) while feeding popcorn to some curiously adorned pigeons in Central Park. He turns out to be poor, also, and was only dressed as an advertising street-walker. They go skinny-dipping in the Hudson River and shack up in New York City's "Hooterville". Ms. Young becomes thoroughly domesticated; she cooks, irons, and decorates Mr. Tracy's shanty with fancy curtains. Tracy treats Young badly in the shack and sees other women on the side, like sexy singer Glenda Farrell (as Fay La Rue)...
At home, Young resists skuzzy neighbor Arthur Hohl (as Bragg) and befriends boozy Marjorie Rambeau (as Flossie). They add danger to our drama. Babe Ruth fan Dickie Moore (as Joey) and a reverend Walter Connolly (as Ira) are also in the cast. Tracy and Young connected in real life, too. Indeed irresistible, Young weathers the Depression looking never less than perfect in cinematographer Joseph August's soft focus. Director Frank Borzage's "fairy tale" romance is lauded in some quarters, not mine. There are some good production values, and Mr. Hohl contributes a good supporting performance.
***** Man's Castle (10/27/33) Frank Borzage ~ Spencer Tracy, Loretta Young, Arthur Hohl, Marjorie Rambeau
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