Extremely strange film from MGM starts off as a prison drama then moves to a screwball comedy and then goes back to gangster action. An undercover cop (Chester Morris) gets inside of a prison where he befriends a gangster (Joseph Calleia) and soon the two bust out but the gangster gets shot. Near death, the undercover cops goes out to find the gangster's drunken doctor (Lionel Barrymore) but due to a storm they are forced to stay at a hotel where the cop falls for a young woman (Jean Arthur) who turns out to be the gangster's sister. After hearing the news, the cop must try to find a way to bring the gangster down without hurting the sister. This film is pretty much all over the map but it's still a greatly entertaining film that works on ever level that it tries. The prison stuff early on is very entertaining as is the gangster stuff at the end. There's a big shootout at the end, which ranks among the best I've seen from any of these early gangster films. Normally screwball laughs wouldn't fit into a film like this but Barrymore does a terrific job in the comedy department as the drunken doctor. The highlight has to be the scene where he accidentally gets dressed in Arthur's robe due to how drunk he is. Barrymore's comic timing is terrific throughout the film. Arthur is also very strong in her role and delivers a very memorable character and performance. The real star is Morris who is simply wonderful all the way through. He has a lot of roles to play here from the tough guy trying to enter the gang to the cop trying to bring down the bad guy but he also does a great job in the romantic department with Arthur. Calleia, Paul Kelly, Lewis Stone and George E. Stone add nice support as well. It's also worth noting that the film seems partially influenced by the John Dillinger case who of course was murdered after watching MGM's Manhattan Melodrama the previous year and that includes the ending here, which has been slightly changed but still takes place outside a theater.
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