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Peter van Eyck,
Based on the story "Mob Rule" by Norman Krasna. Joe Wilson and Katherine Grant are in love, but he doesn't have enough money for them to get married. So Katherine moves across the country to make money. But things go disastrously wrong for Joe when he stops in a small town and is mistaken for a wanted murderer. Through the course of the movie, Fritz Lang shows us how a decent and once civilized man can become a ruthless and bitter man. Written by
Andre'a M. Thompson <email@example.com>
Terry, better known as Toto from The Wizard of Oz (1939), appears in this film as the dog that Spencer Tracy takes in from the rain at the beginning of the movie, becoming his traveling companion into the netherworld of small-town America. See more »
When the newsreel of the attempted lynching is run during the trial scene, the frame of the newsreel is frozen several times, in order to show the defendants as having taken part in the crime. But while the newsreel projector is supposed to have stopped, the ticking of the projector continues in the background, as if the film were still running. See more »
If those people die, Joe Wilson dies too; you know that, don't you? Wherever you go, whatever you do.
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In what was his fourth film on his new MGM contract Spencer Tracy finally broke through the ranks and became an A picture star. Tracy had been in Hollywood for six years five of them with Fox. Most of his work there was relegated to B picture second features. In this, the first American film by Fritz Lang, Tracy emerges with a powerhouse performance of a man who nearly destroys himself in a quest for vengeance against the mob that nearly kills him by setting a jail on fire where he's being held on a suspicion of kidnapping.
Remember that this was the 30s with news of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial fresh in the minds of the movie-going public. Probably the most hated man in America was Bruno Hauptman, the Lindbergh kidnapping suspect. That's a dimension that can hardly be appreciated by seeing the video today. But Lang's direction of the mob scenes still retains the power to frighten.
Sylvia Sydney registers well as Tracy's fiancé and Bruce Cabot stands out as the local town bully who whips up the mob in the first place against the innocent Tracy being held in the town jail.
In the first of many climactic monologues Tracy comes forward and redeems himself from the twisted personality his victimization by the town mob has left. The speech is simple, direct, profound; pure Spencer Tracy. And that's as good as it ever gets.
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