A man's life is retold just after his funeral. Beginning as a track walker, Tom Garner rose through all sorts of railroad jobs to head the company. In the meantime he lost touch with his ... See full summary »
Bootlegger Ed Carson is sent to prison. His old gang turns from liquor (now legal) to kidnapping. When they nab the son and daughter-in-law of the judge who sent Carson to prison, he is ... See full summary »
Bachelor Harry Quincey, head designer in a small-town cloth factory, lives with his selfish sisters, glamorous hypochondriac Lettie and querulous widow Hester. His developing relationship ... See full summary »
Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern, marrying Betty along the way. An inspector calls the ... See full summary »
Henry B. Walthall
Promoter Smoothe King helps a pair of phonies con their way into a movie company. As Wanda heads toward stardom, she turns more and more from King toward the matinée idol. King must decide between his plans and her happiness.
After becoming involved in a killing, Kiddo gets on board Boyton's ship. When he learns what happened he dumps her on a South Sea island. Tom Brian marries her, and when Boynton returns ... See full summary »
John G. Blystone
William 'Stage' Boyd
Golden is a two-bit gambler who has promised wife Virginia he'll quit when he makes $200,000. When he fixes a fight he gets mobster Mossiter mad, then loses his fortune to him. He pawns his... See full summary »
Edwin J. Burke
Marie is kidnapped and taken aboard ship, then thrown off at Yucatan. She winds up singing in a café in the Panama Canal zone. There she gets involved in a plot to destroy the canal and runs into American intelligence officer Crawbett.
A clever fortune-hunter with a penchant for murder does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results in a decision of 'accidental ... See full summary »
20th Century Pictures production number 8900. See more »
At one point, a henchman tells a quibbling Pearl and Dan that they're "starting to sound more like Gracie and Allen every day." Obviously, he means Burns and Allen, but this is undoubtedly intended to be a joke. See more »
Spencer Tracy as the hard guy, up in the air, 20 feet high
Tracy was always playing the hard guy in his days at Fox Films. He really didn't play normal or sympathetic figures until he moved to MGM. Here Tracy plays Joe Graham, a telephone company troubleshooter. He's offered a promotion - a job as supervisor of 14 other troubleshooters, and tells his boss he doesn't want the job. The money means nothing to him, not sitting around in an office means everything to him. He says he just wants to be happy and for now being a troubleshooter does that. He's apparently seen the world, hopping freighters for China or India, or wherever, and just picking up odd jobs until he wanted to come home.
He's dating Ethel (Constance Cummings), but their relationship is turbulent. He's jealous of everyone, and of Dan in particular. Dan's a bad guy, working both as a troubleshooter and in an illegal gambling hall. Heck, he'll do anything to pick up money if it's illegal. Joe knows this and keeps mum about it - not because he's crooked himself, he just has a philosophy of not meddling. But when something Dan has done gets blamed on Joe's new partner, Casey (Jack Oakie), Joe speaks up, gets Dan fired, and Joe punches Dan in the nose for good measure. Since Dan has been circling around Ethel, he tells Ethel a one sided story of what happened - that Joe beat him up AND got him fired just because Joe was jealous. Ethel breaks if off with Joe and is drawn even closer to Dan, with whom she sympathizes.
The point here is, both of these people are being unreasonable and not communicating. Ethel never bothers to hear Joe's side of the story. Joe goes around accusing Ethel of being untrue to him, when she has often just gone out by herself on nights when Joe was troubleshooting. In the meantime, Joe's goofy partner hits it off with Ethel's roommate, played by Arlene Judge, although the mutual attraction had me scratching my head.
So Ethel quits the phone company and starts working for Dan, who is actually running an illegal enterprise out his rented office of which Ethel is completely unaware. Now you might think, I can see where this is going. Dan is going to out himself as a bad character, Ethel will see the error of her ways, possibly in danger of bodily harm from Dan, Joe saves the day, all is well.
Actually, that's not what happens at all. The turn of events is completely unexpected and the last half of this film is particularly exciting. I'll let you watch and find out what does happen. Let me just say that even an earthquake enters in as a plot point! Great shades of "San Francisco"!
Let me just say in closing that I never thought Paramount or Fox really knew what to do with Jack Oakie. It seems like he did his best stuff at Universal - "Chance of a Lifetime", "Bowery to Broadway", and "That's The Spirit" come to mind. At any rate I'd recommend this one. It certainly does not take you where you'd expect it to take you.
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