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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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