A discredited diplomat accidentally finds work with a seedy private detective. The diplomat's ethics later bump up against the detective's illegal methods after their new partnership is ... See full synopsis »
In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets ... See full summary »
William K. Howard,
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 »
A discredited diplomat accidentally finds work with a seedy private detective. The diplomat's ethics later bump up against the detective's illegal methods after their new partnership is financed by a local gambler... See full synopsis »
This film offers a rare example of a song written for one studio ("Isn't It Romantic?," from the Paramount musical "Love Me Tonight") appearing in a film from another studio. Usually in this period studios owned the publishing rights to songs written for films and zealously kept other studios from using them. See more »
Despite the title, this is not a genre movie. There are elements of a whodunit, straight melodrama, and businessman shenanigans, but the results don't easily fall into any category. What appeal the movie does have comes, in my view, from Powell and some good plot twists.
So how is Don Free (Powell) going to make a living now that he's been cashiered from the diplomatic service. After all, it is 1933 and jobs of any kind are hard to come by. Some of the movie's best parts manage to convey this sense of an economically depressed time. Anyhow, for Don, there's always a need for private detectives since there's always a need to get the goods on somebody or something. So he fast- talks his way into an agency partnership with an unscrupulous associate, and that's when the trouble begins.
Powell's his usual slick self, but without an opportunity for his amusing Thin Man tongue-in- cheek. Shot in just 21 days, the erratic script sometimes shows (follow Janet's path, if you can). Nonetheless, ace studio director Mike Curtiz blends tricky plot elements in smooth fashion so that it's hard to notice. Note, however, the fleeting reference to "snow" (heroin) and "hophead". This is a pre-Code production, while such references to hard drugs would disappear from mainstream movies for several decades. Speaking of hopheads, I'm still wondering if James Bell's Whitey is supposed to be a dash of comic relief or suffering ill effects of his addiction. Either way, it's the movie's only actor's blemish, at least in my opinion. No, the movie's nothing special, except for the compelling Powell who would soon get to show his full range of talents in the delicious Thin Man series.
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