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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 Duval in a clip joint, but tensions start to show in the road crew as rivally between Hank and Johnny increases. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After Johnny bails Fay out of jail, they are seen walking together down a stairway at the police station. When they arrive at the first landing, as they turn and continue to descend the stairs, the shadow of the microphone boom can be seen on the wall behind them. See more »
Man calling the power company.:
Power and light company? Hey, the lights are out!
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"Manpower" is a 1941 Warner Brothers film directed by Raoul Walsh. Walsh said that Jack Warner used to call him to his office and say, "You have to direct this film for me." Walsh would ask, "Who's in it?" "Oh, I don't know," Warner would moan. One wonders if "Manpower" was one of those films, though it would be pretty hard to forget that you had a film with Marlene Dietrich scheduled.
The story is that of a typical love triangle. Hank (Robinson) and Johnny (Raft) are linemen; Hank falls hard for Dietrich, who works at a clip joint. He proposes and though she tells him up front that she doesn't love him, she accepts. Then she finds herself in love with Johnny.
Dietrich is stunningly beautiful though I was distracted by a wig that seemed to overpower her face. And when was the last time you heard her described, as Raft does, as "just a dame?" Hardly. She is very good as Fay, who, while she gives it a go with Hank, wants her chance at real happiness. Robinson, who could play pathetic like nobody's business, gives us a pretty pathetic Hank here - injured so that instead of working on the power lines, he's now a manager, unlucky in love and dumpy looking. For a guy who could play mean as dirt, he portrayed these blustery, insecure men very well. Raft is a very dapper Johnny, a nice contrast to Robinson.
With the exception of an exciting ending, there really isn't anything exceptional about "Manpower" except the cast and the fact that it rains a lot. Definitely worth seeing for the unique casting.
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