Lavishly filmed at the former Monogram studios (now renamed Allied Artists with a slight polish, even in the Bowery Boys films they were famous for), "Smart Woman" is an enjoyable but predictable drama of vice and graff in L.A.'s legal system. There's never any real surprise, but small details in the film (including James Gleason as Aherne's courageous assistant and Michael O'Shea as a wise-cracking hanger on who is obviously in love with Bennett) stand out. Gleason's character, Sam Corkle, must be a distant cousin of his "Here Comes Mr. Jordan"/"Down to Earth" character Max Corkle, or a long lost twin.
There's fine support from Isobel Elsom as Bennett's Billie Burke like mother, Selena Royle as Kruger's naive wife and Richard Lyon as Bennett's son, but there's never any doubt how this will play out. Bennett is still gorgeous here at 44, but unlike other vets Davis, Hepburn, Stanwyck and Crawford, was fading from the main stem of leading ladies. Aherne is likable, Kruger despicable and Sullivan an interesting amalgamation of good and evil, perhaps the most real character in the film.