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 »
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 amusement pier unsafe but Carter bribes him. The pier collapses, leading to the inspector's suicide, injury to Pop McWade, trial for Carter, and Betty's leaving him. Carter starts over with an unsafe floating casino. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Impressive drama about a con man (Spencer Tracy) who gets a job at a carnival when an elderly man (Henry B. Walthall) hires him as a barker. The two men create the "Dante's Inferno" show, which Walthall uses to warn people but Tracy sees it as a way to get rich. Soon he will stop at nothing for the all mighty dollar but this will soon backfire when his wife (Claire Trevor) has to betray her own morals for him. There are a few faults in the film but overall this is a pretty strong little gem that contains three great sequences that make it a must see. The first one is the carnival attraction that has some rather amazing sets and terrific visuals. Another brilliant scene is the ending with a large ship catching fire. The third masterful touch is a famous sequence of Hell where we get to see thousands of people burning for eternity. All three of these scenes contain some thrilling entertainment and especially the sequence in Hell. I was really surprised to see how graphic some of these scenes where considering the Hayes Office was coming down on this type of thing. I also could have sworn there were a couple nude shots during this sequence but it was somewhat hard to tell. Another reason to watch this film are for the performances with Tracy delivering once again. The most impressive thing is that Tracy is so good at playing cold that you can't help but fall for everything he does in the film. He gets to show off a nicer side as well and he perfectly blends the two depending on the scene in question. Trevor is also in fine form as his wife and she gets some pretty good moments early on as her good ways must be thrown out the window in order to save her husband. Walthall turns in one of the best performances I've seen from him in the sound era and he actually steals the film from everyone. He's tour of Dante's Inferno is very good as is another sequence where he first meets Tracy's character. Rita Hayworth shows up at the end as a dancer so keep your eyes open for her. The film's major fault is that it gets too preachy at times and I think it goes a tad bit over the top in regards to some of the deeds that Tracy does. I think the film could have done without Hayworth's dance sequence as well as it really feels out of place with the rest of the film. And if you're keeping track with how many A-list Hollywood stars who appeared in blackface at some point in their career then you can add Tracy.
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