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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 wife's jewels and takes out an insurance policy on himself. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As I write these comments, the repercussions from the O.J. Simpson book/TV show/media blitz over his "If I Did It" book are still rumbling through the news. This movie is based on a 'work of fiction' by the widow of Arnold Rothstein, the notorious gambler who may have fixed the 1919 World Series -- the infamous 'Black Sox Scandal.' Of course, the wife of the gambler is portrayed as open, loving and entirely unaware of the slimy side of her husband's dealings. Watching this movie, thoughts of self-serving bits of keyhole fictions kept popping up, making me generally disgusted with it, its chipper moron of a heroine and annoyed at Spencer Tracy's, as usual, straightforward and excellent portrayal of a bad guy. While it can work, here, with the general sense of disingenuity that beclouds the entire proceedings, the effect is disgusting.
This is a shame, because Tracy is surrounded by actors and actresses who actually can get in a scene with him and inhabit the same universe -- all too often in this period, Tracy seemed to be the only genuine human being in these productions. Henry O'Neill is fine as the old friend of Tracy's who is now an honest cop and is intent on putting him in jail, and who will not even accept a toy for his daughter, played by Shirley Temple. It's also fun to watch Alice Faye, who is in her platinum blonde phase, playing a voracious gold digger. After the Code began to be enforced, she would turn into a sweet-tempered lady on the screen. But they can't save this smarmy whitewash job.
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