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We follow the training and adventures of a team of young federal anti-gangster agents, Mal Stevens, Van Rensseler, and Tex Logan. After foiling a kidnap attempt on socialite Eleanor Spencer (an old flame of Van's), Mal falls for her; but they're at odds over her belief in the innocence of her chauffeur Joe Keefer (whom Mal knows was involved) and her young brother Buddy's desire to join the federal agents. This conflict climaxes with the pursuit of an Ohio bank-robbing gang. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"I want a million bucks, and I'm gonna get a million bucks"
'Let 'em Have It (1935),' a taut 1930s gangster flick, has since fallen
out of all popular recognition, but remains worthwhile viewing if you
can find it thanks to the capable direction of Sam Wood, an
undervalued workman who gave us two Marx Brothers comedies ('A Night at
the Opera (1935)' and 'A Day at the Races (1937)') and the wonderful,
unforgettable 'Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939).' This particular gangster
thriller plays like a good version of Mann's 'Public Enemies (2009)': a
group of young men (Richard Arlen, Gordon Jones, Harvey Stephens),
having been recruited into the Department of Justice, must bring down
murderous bank-robber Joe Keefer (Bruce Cabot), who is crossing the
country looting and murdering at will.
The elegant presence of Virginia Bruce promises some romance for the
ladies, but 'Let 'em Have It' is at its best when revelling in the
intricate details of forensic procedure, whether it be matching the
ballistic markings of a firearm, or reconstructing the profile of an
assailant from teeth-marks left in an apple. The heroes occasionally
seem like over-excited boy-scouts, especially Eric Linden as Buddy, but
Richard Arlen has a quiet, brooding presence that offsets the
occasional moments that resemble a thinly-veiled advertisement for
Edgar J. Hoover's newly-named F.B.I. As Keefer, Bruce Cabot is also
excellent, gradually spinning an innocuous small-time criminal into a
murderous outlaw worthy of Dillinger or Baby Face Nelson. There's one
scene that precludes the plastic surgery in Delmer Daves' noir 'Dark
Passage (1947),' and a bandage unveiling that cannot be missed.
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