Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him ... See full summary »
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During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in China, U.S. Army Major Matt Lewis, aided by British Consul Sir Arthur Robertson, devises a strategy to keep the rebels at bay until an international military relief force arrives.
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Josef von Sternberg,
Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him decide to get a better reputation. But mob king Rico Angelo *insists* that he continues his services. Written by
It's interesting that Robert Taylor's last film under his long MGM contract ended so well with this tough little movie. While "Party Girl" is filmed in color and lacks the gritty dark look and unusual film angles of film noir, it is a nice near-noir film. Taylor plays an attorney with no soul. He has spent his career working for the mob and doesn't mind working for scum--as it pays very well! However, when Taylor meets a dancing girl who turns out to be quite decent (Cyd Charisse), his amoral attitude is shaken and he wants to leave his lucrative practice and do something decent with his life.
What makes this film is the excellent supporting cast working with Taylor (who, by the way, is quite good here). Lee J. Cobb is wonderful as the Al Capone-like mob boss and his henchmen (John Ireland, David Opatashu and Corey Allen) are all exceptional actors. Together, combined with a wonderful script and exceptional direction, it makes for a very good film indeed. Tough, cynical and a quality production throughout, this is a great swansong to his MGM career. The only deficits are the dancing numbers by Charisse and a mistake in the final scene where acid pours on Cobb's face but he's not the least bit burned. The dancing just wasn't necessary and tended to disrupt the dark tone of the film.
By the way, if you like this film, try also watching John Garfield in "Force of Evil". Its plot is very similar and is also an exceptional film.
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