Law professor John Lindsay volunteers to clean up the corruption and graft in his town when the authorities seem unable to do so. When the gangsters infiltrate his staff, he recruits his law students to form an army of law enforcers. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Existing prints bear 1955 re-release titles, with lettering in the center of the screen so that they would not be cropped in wide screen projection; these restyled opening credits also include an erroneous 1933 (MCMXXXIII), instead of 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) copyright date. See more »
The good guys plant a movie camera in the wall of the villain's apartment to spy on them. We see the lens barely peeping from the wall behind a china figurine. Yet, when they show the film later as evidence, the camera tilts, pans, and frames all the action from various angles, which would not have been possible given the setup. See more »
Little Caesar himself, Edward G. Robinson, is one of the good guys in "I Am the Law" in this 1938 film also starring Barbara O'Neill, Otto Kruger, John Beal, and Wendie Barrie.
Robinson plays John Lindsay, a professor on sabbatical, looking forward to his first vacation with his wife (O'Neill) in a long time. But at the last minute, he's asked to become special prosecutor and fight the corruption taking place in the town, as the authorities haven't been successful. He asks his best student, Paul Ferguson (Beal) to work with him. It soon becomes apparent that there is a leak in his staff, as they finally get a witness willing to talk and he's killed. Before Lindsay can get rid of the corruption in town, he needs to get rid of it in his own office.
This is a fairly routine film with a good cast. Robinson was a little man but a wonderful actor with a powerful voice. He could play the most pathetic weakling or the toughest, meanest guy on earth. Here he's plenty tough but with a lot of warmth. Robinson is well thought of as an actor from the classic period, certainly, but I wonder sometimes if he isn't a little underrated.
As far as the other actors, Otto Kruger plays Paul Ferguson's father and gives his usual smooth performance. John Beal got the star buildup at RKO, but after RKO, he signed with MGM. He was young, handsome, and had a kind of earnestness. When the Gable-Harlow deal to do "In Old Chicago" at Fox as a trade for Tyrone Power doing "Madame X" fell through, Beal was given the part of the son. He never achieved stardom. He was, however, a very prolific Broadway actor particularly after World War II, and continued to do films and television until 1993. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the '80s, and he was very charming.
This is an okay film, enjoyable for the performances. The story is fairly routine.
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