|Index||2 reviews in total|
What starts off as an amusing little romantic comedy (a lovely music
score adding to its charm) develops quite startlingly into something
else, namely a sort of precursor to the 1960 Peter Sellers comedy,
Two-Way Stretch. In the first half of the movie we are treated to a
delicious portrayal by Arthur Treacher, enacting a bore of uncommon
magnitude. But the real joys of cameo portrayal occur in the latter
half of the film where the screenwriters excel themselves in delightful
raillery: "I didn't know he was a reporter. I thought he was all right.
I thought he was just a criminal." We also meet such unforgettable
characters as Stanley Fields with his "little paroles", and Paul Hurst
delivering his lines in a wondrous imitation of W.C. Fields: "Get back
in that cell there!" and "I wonder if we could be arrested?"
We also thoroughly enjoyed slow-thinking Sidney Toler as a greedy prison warden and his tongue-twisting assistant, immaculate Jack LaRue as the king of the prison underworld. And not to forget Warren Hymer as a seeker for the perfect hiding place (a device re-used in Two-Way Stretch).
William A. Seiter was always a capable director, but Daring Young Man represents a considerable cut above his customary average. Take the remarkable sequence in which Dunn obtains a little parole. His streetcar is tailed by Hymer and Pawley who cut him down just as he reaches his girlfriend's apartment, the camera tracking away from his viewpoint just as she comes through the entrance.
Seiter's fast and snappy direction is lifted not only by fluid camera movement but by rapid dialogue delivery, an expert control of crowd scenes and quicksilver film editing.
All the players excel, with the possible exception of former silent star, Neil Hamilton, as the heroine's former suitor. Fortunately. he has only three or four scenes.
Production values are first-class and behind-the-camera credits likewise, although Mae Clarke is not always photographed to advantage. And it's a pity we don't see more of Dorothy Christy!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When romance gets in the way of the job of two reporters, what are they
going to do? James Dunn claims he wants no part of the old ball and
chain, but even as he proclaims that to sweetheart Mae Clarke, he is
proposing to her. The ultimate reporting assignment threatens to stand
in their way, ironically on the very day he agrees to stand at the end
of the aisle as she marches down it. That assignment puts him literally
behind bars trying to catch the scoop on the crooked goings-on in the
prison where warden Sidney Toler is getting away with a lot of shady
practices, particularly in allowing certain special prisoners to be
temporarily paroled which opens up a lot of questions. Of course,
there's always the chance that his identity will be discovered, and
also the chance that Clarke will turn back to wealthy lover Neil
Hamilton who desperately wants to wed her.
This is a basically entertaining, but sometimes trying crime drama with comic elements that features one of the oddest screen performances ever, in this case by Toler as the warden who delivers his lines in such a wooden manner I was surprise that woodpeckers weren't attacking him. It seems at times that the script stretches out some of the scenes to make it unnecessarily longer. One memorable moment between Dunn and Clark has him trying to explain the difference between the various types of women but not wanting to risk offending her, can't explain. "Come on", I just yelled at him. "Say it! There are ladies and then there are females!" (to paraphrase "The Women"). Overall, its pretty predictable, but keeps up a fast pace to make it a nice discovery of a forgotten programmer and featuring stars mainly known for character parts.
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