This film was initially telecast in Los Angeles Wednesday 5 March 1958 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Sunday 4 May 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed by San Francisco 20 May 1958 on Channel 7); it finally found its way to New York City where it was first aired 7 June 1962 on The Late Show on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
Robert Young, Florence Rice, and Lewis J. Stone star in "Sworn Enemy," a 1936 MGM B movie.
Though not a superstar in films, before he became one in TV, Robert Young played a variety of roles in movies. His likable personality served him well, and he is very good here as Hank Sherman, a young man who goes undercover to get evidence against Joe Emerald, the head of a protection organization (Joseph Calleia). His first effort fails miserably when instead of a shooting a cop, he shoots his partner and is thrown out of the group. So he tries again, this time by replacing his brother, killed by the mob, as the manager of a fighter (Nat Pendleton).
Very good and exciting film, with a gay undertone that possibly went over the head of the 1930s audiences. The mob boss, Emerald, is crippled and, from his treatment of Florence Rice's character, has no use for women. When he brings Hank into his deco steam room, it's filled with Greco-Roman friezes of nude men. He more or less tells Hank that he lives vicariously through fighters, which is why he wants Hank's client. An interesting twist on what could have been just a formulaic mob story.
The excellent finale takes place in said steam room, where detectives are searching for hidden files.
Dark film, noirish, albeit before noir, and intriguing. Recommended.
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