Jury foreman Edward Weldon's questioning leads to the death sentence for Ethel Saxon. His daughter Stella claims to have killed her lover, the gangster Gar Boni, just as Saxon was to sit in... See full summary »
Hank McHenry and Johnny Marshall work on a road crew for the power company. In a freak accident Hank is injured and is promoted to foreman of the gang. One night Hank and Johnny meet Fay ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
Promoter Ed Hatch comes to the Ozarks with his slow-witted wrestler Joe Skopapoulos whom he pits against a hillbilly Amazon blacksmith, Sadie Horn. Joe falls in love with her and won't ... See full summary »
Soldier of fortune Maxton is stranded in a Central American country. He and Tom, the nephew of the country's richest man, try to end Morloff's banditry but just barely escape a firing squad. They become rivals for Rosita.
Martha Carstairs was charged with murder twenty years earlier. Now, as her daughter Edith is about to be married to Malcolm Sims Jr., son of a wealthy industrialist, a sensationalistic ... See full summary »
William C. McGann
Phil and Ellen Gayley have been divorced for a year, and their 8-year old daughter, Flip, is very unhappy that her parents are not together. Flip starts a correspondence with a marine, ... See full summary »
Oil-tanker Captain Manson rescues Kathie Hall after her ship is sunk by a U-boat. He marries her. When his ship is sunk and she is suspected because she has no identification. Manson tries ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
Gang boss Little John Sarto returns from Europe where he was looking for "class" to find his old mob taken over by Jack Burns. When he puts together a rival gang he gets wounded and seeks refuge in a monastery. He is gradually transformed by the simple, sincere brothers and, after one last gangland appearance, decides he has found class at last in the monastery. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Both Charles De Ravenne (Stable Boy) and John Qualen (Mr. Pigeon) are in studio records for their roles in this film, "Brother Orchid (1940)," but neither were seen in the movie. See more »
Possibly deliberate mistake by the film makers, when John Sarto goes to get Willie the Knife (Allen Jenkins) released from the SanatoRium, the sign of the institution is misspelt "Pattonsville Private Sanitarium" See more »
Little Johnny Sarto:
You know, to such a guy like me... love is like a scratch on the back. Sometimes feels good. But a guy can't go along all his life with an itch.
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Edward G. Robinson plays first fiddle here, a mob boss jaded with the business and leaving it in Humphrey Bogart's hands while he goes to Europe. For five years. He comes back broke, and he's surprised he isn't boss anymore. Ha. That's just the first twenty minutes. There are more mob doings, and then it takes an odd couple of twists that give the movie its distinction.
"Brother Orchid" is fast, it's classic mobster stuff, and yet it's never hard edged and mean, as if it knows by 1940 the genre is old and people watching it have a bit of of nostalgia for it. (This isn't really true, however, as Cagney's most polished and possibly best gangster movie was White Heat in 1949. By the way, Cagney was originally slated for Robinson's role.) It is a light comedy around the edges, and Ralph Bellamy is the one truly comic character. But Ann Southern as the lead girl plays a lighthearted moll.
The mood here is to entertain. The title is odd from outside the theater but it makes sense after seeing it, and it's this second half of the movie that makes it all a little too starry eyed, even if it's also tongue-in-cheek. But most of all, it's totally enjoyable. Bogart, who appears really for just a couple minutes of screen time total, is restrained and not the classic Bogart just emerging ("The Maltese Falcon" and "High Sierra" are both 1941). But Robinson is in usual top form, subtle, peculiar, convincing, sympathetic. He even delivers some very sentimental lines with such earthy conviction you can believe him. Almost.
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