Brent Fun To Watch In This Otherwise So-So 'B' Flick
This is an old "B" crime movie if there ever was one, straight out of the 1930s. This was released in 1939 but it looks and feels more like 1931. The acting isn't bad but it's closer to Ed Wood-type '50s material than to Casablanca. In the first half of the film, the story drags too much. You'd think that would be almost impossible in a film that's less than an hour long, but it's true. For much of the first 30 minutes, nothing happens, but it picks up in the second half with hokey barroom-brawl-type fights and a car chase in the country.
The story is a simple one: an FBI agent goes undercover to get a crime boss. The twist is that "Carney," the crime boss of San Francisco's Chinatown, is a woman and the FBI doesn't know that. By the way, nobody is the gang is Asian.
The man pretending to semi-famous crook "Gallagher" from the east who has just escaped from the Atlanta prison, has his work cut out for him: another guy - "Lefty" (gee, what a unique name for a criminal) from Atlanta is there and could blow our man's cover. Playing the FBI good guy is Grant Withers ("agent Ralph Dickson"). Gallagher was only recruited because the local heat was on Carney and she preferred someone else running the show for awhile in case the law won. Then, she wouldn't implicated since she and the new guy had no connections.
I wish "Carney" had a bigger role because Evelyn Brent is very good in here, very mysterious, beautiful and her dialog is fun to hear. Unlike "Muggsy," one of her gang members who is too nice a guy to be a thug, Brent's character is tough and edgy.
The transfer quality on this Alpha Video disc is horrible, like a bad VHS tape.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?