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J. Carrol Naish
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 <email@example.com>
"Dante's Inferno" (1935) is a taut drama starring Spencer Tracy as a ruthless promoter who's determined to succeed, no matter who gets in his way. Eventually he gets a glimpse of Hell and sees the error of his ways ... but is it too late for him to repair all the damage he's done to other people's lives?
This film was inspired by (but is not a remake of) a 1924 film with the same title: both films have the same premise but very different plotlines.
We first see Tracy's character Jim Carter on the bottom rung: the Depression is on, and Carter is so desperate he takes a job as a blackface performer. Then he gets a job in a carnival attraction which offers the customers a quick ride through Hell (made of papier-mache).
There's a brilliant performance by Alan Dinehart, one of those great supporting actors from Hollywood's golden age. Dinehart specialised in playing sharp guys on the edge of the law (or slightly beyond it), and this is one of Dinehart's best roles. Henry Walthall, the silent-film star, is also excellent here.
The standout sequence in the film begins when Tracy is in hospital, recovering from injuries. Walthall brings him a copy of Dante's "Inferno", and proceeds to describe the horrible fates awaiting sinners in the afterworld. On screen, we see a series of stark tableaux in which naked men and women suffer eternal torments in Hell ... dodging flames, writhing in chains, turning into trees. For some reason, all the naked people in Hell have gorgeous physiques: apparently Hell doesn't take any chubsters.
"Dante's Inferno" is often mentioned by Rita Hayworth fans, because this movie includes one of her very earliest film roles. (She was still performing as Margarita Cansino, her original name.) Hayworth/Cansino appears very briefly as a ballroom dancer aboard Tracy's gambling ship. This is a standout film, but if you think it's a Rita Hayworth movie you'll be disappointed.
I strongly recommend "Dante's Inferno".
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