After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
Dr. Clitterhouse is fascinated with the working of the criminal mind. His interest is so deep that he finds the best way to observe criminals in action is to become one himself! Whilst robbing a safe at an exclusive party he stumbles across an organized gang trying to the same thing. He teams up with the gang to observe them in action but one of the members, Rocks Valentine would like nothing better than to see Clitterhouse out of the way. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ivars from Tasmania doesn't know what he's talking about.
This film is an excellent gangster film. The negative reviews I've read here are the remarks of mere quibblers, people who don't have a true appreciation for the 1930's Gangster Film. I used to have a 16mm print of this film. And every time I screened it people would come up afterward and say how much they liked it. No self respecting fan of Warner's gangster films would dare say a bad word about this film and others I've seen poorly reviewed on this site. Perhaps people brought up on Good Fellas and The Godfather cannot help but try holding older films up to current sensibilities. I don't know. But I see it a lot.
Anyway, don't believe the hype: Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart are great as are the rest of the cast. Character roles are well cast. Writing is solid. There's a great scene where Bogart gets slapped for misinterpreting a double entendre.
This film has something that I think is significant for the time. It deals with possible psychological reasons for crime. The good doctor who is doing experiments to fully understand the criminal mind was probably represents some sort of extension of public interest as well as paying lip service to the growing acceptance of psychology as we currently know it. The fact that the doctor is actually corrupted by the excitement and challenge of crime and getting away with it are interesting to note and may, again, parallel public interest.
The ending has an irresistible twist as the doctor incorrigibly revels in his bizarre circumstances as the camera closes in on an excited Robinson as chaos ensues all around.
I rate this film a strong 8 and recommend that Ivars give this film another chance.
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