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A young woman who owns a coffee shop falls for a handsome young customer, unaware that he is a gangster. The association results in her being tried and sentenced to a long prison term. However, the authorities permit her to escape, hoping that she will lead them to her boyfriend. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Sylvia Sidney was in trouble with the law again, branded a "gun moll" because the man she thought was so nice was really a desperate gangster. This top notch gripping thriller was so strongly written by Gene Towne and directed by the under-rated William K. Howard that you are with Sylvia every inch of the way when as a law abiding cafe owner she becomes infatuated with a gangster and is soon dragged down to his criminal level.
This is a superlative film and I can't understand why it is not better known. Lovely Mary is the darling of the neighbourhood but she only has eyes for "Babe". The only time the movie falls down is in it's casting of Alan Baxter - he was so quiet and un-animated that it was completely believable that Mary was innocent of his real identity. It was his film debut but he almost sleepwalked through his part. Anyway, he wants her to go to Canada with him but before Mary has time to think, the police surround the diner and she is branded a "gun moll" by the newspapers. Mary breaks down under pressure and "confesses" her role in his criminal activities - even though she didn't do it!!!
Looking at 15 years in prison she makes a break with fellow cell mate Goldie (Pert Kelton), but Goldie is in league with a policeman (Wallace Ford) who hopes that, now free, Mary will lead them to Babe. Mary is determined to lead a decent life and gets a job as a hospital kitchen hand where she makes the acquaintance of explorer, Barton Powell (Melvyn Douglas). When Babe's henchman (Brian Donlevy) tries to "convince" her (as only Donlevy can) to see Babe, Mary slips out of a window and she is soon on the run again, finding a job as a dance hostess in a small town. The pace never lets up as all the players meet again for an explosive climax at Powell's lakeside cottage.
Obviously Sidney carried the whole show with her desperate emotion and her beautiful face, ready to smile through her tears. A far more dynamic personality than Baxter's was Brian Donlevy who should have been snapped up by Paramount. He had performed a number of different roles on Broadway, even though in films he was being typecast as grim faced thugs but it was left to 20th Century Fox to bring out his personality.
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