Joe comes from a rough neighborhood and when his brother Mike is gunned down in 1927, he decides to go into legitimate business. He wants to make a lot of money and fast so he is ambitious ... See full summary »
Joe comes from a rough neighborhood and when his brother Mike is gunned down in 1927, he decides to go into legitimate business. He wants to make a lot of money and fast so he is ambitious and rude. He wants what he cannot have and that includes Aggie who is the gal pal of Merritt, his boss. He works his way up the ladder and finds that all the money and all the crooked deals will not buy happiness. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Here is a picture that not only deserves recognition for its considerable merits, but is one whose existence remains largely unknown, even to those with more than a casual interest in film. Its characters are sharply and honestly drawn, defined primarily by crackling dialog that is both earthy and literate. These are real people, with no illusions about themselves or the world they move in; they speak from the heart, revealing their needs, longings and frustrations. The performances are rock-solid by all the players (and how refreshing to discover one of Frank Morgan's few roles in which he does not dither and sputter). Fast-paced and seamless, the direction is also deserving of special praise.
Admittedly (or arguably?) the ending is less than totally convincing, what with Joe's change of heart occurring too quickly and without sufficient motivation. Similarly, his determination to succeed (yes, at any price) is presented at the start as a result of his gangster brother's having been murdered. This appears unnecessary, and more than a little contrived. He wants to break out of a poor, aimless existence, and has a loyal, loving girlfriend encouraging him to do so. That's more than enough.
Even with those weaknesses punctuating the first and last five minutes of this picture, it remains a first-rate drama that can easily hold its own with a host of better-known films.
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