Colorful bayou peddler Hank Martin marries pretty teacher Verity, who finds that the rural poor all love Hank. Gradually, she realizes that Hank's popularity is the fruit of his expert manipulation of everyone he knows. She's further taken aback when she meets sexy swamp girl Flamingo, who considered Hank hers and is murderously jealous. Now Hank starts crusading against a crooked cotton buyer, and swiftly rises toward political power. Is there no stopping him? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
More like a bull in a china shop! Cagney completely unfettered here, carrying everything before him in a typical barn-storming performance of sheer bravura.
Forget all the succeeding shortcomings of the plot, they're there from the start and almost far too numerous to mention, but let's just throw some in - like Cagney's whirlwind romance with too-young-for-him school-marm Barbara Hale and even more ridiculous fling with far-too-much-younger-for-him Anne Francis as a wild-child with a crush on our hero, who in a "hath no fury" scorned moment improbably tries to feed Cagney's new bride to the crocodiles, mix in a plumb-loco trial scene where Cagney props up a dying witness to testify for his innocence even as he expires on the stand and grandstand it all with Cagney's "Kingfish" character Hank Martin getting shot at point-blank range by widow of same dying witness when Cagney's treachery in thrall of power is exposed, just at the point when he's fathered his first child and lost the election to boot!.
Only Raoul Walsh could whip all this into, I hesitate to call it shape and in under 90 minutes at that. Shot in gleaming technicolour, with hordes of well-marshaled crowd scenes and with Cagney threatening to self-combust from the off, this has to be one of the most preposterous films I've ever watched. You could argue with some justification that the great man chews more scenery than Hungry Horace, but best just to surrender yourself to the whirlwind, suspend all disbelief and see where it deposits you. It may not be Oz, but there's certainly a wizard at work here.
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