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|3 reviews in total|
Until Wallace Beery shows up, this is a dull Western with an all-too-familiar plot. But Beery, despite the worst Mexican accent of all time, is a hoot. He must have realized what a joke he had made out of Pancho Villa in VIVA VILLA! (1937) and decided to go for the laughs this time around. Beery ridicules everyone in sight, making fun of Ronald Reagan's ethics. As much as he tries to help Reagan, Beery does not understand all of the hero's moral objections. Berry and Lionel Barrymore fight to see who can be the bigger ham. Tom Conway, looking just like brother George Sanders, is a slimy villain who cannot compete with Beery. Laraine Day is useless as the token romantic interest. Viewers need to treat this silly movie as a what it is--a farce.
Here is one of those movies spoiled by the studio's insistence on a happy ending. Conflicts which have stretched out for years are settled in a few minutes. It would have been far more interesting to inject a tone of ambiguity. The talented Barbara Stanwyck is undone by a sudden metamorphosis from independent and assertive woman to a compliant female of the kind she has put down all her life. Brent, as usual, is well over his head and then there is the ludicrous situation of Gig Young playing a character named Gig Young. Someone mentions "Gig Young" and then who appears but Gig Young, the actor! Worth seeing though far below what it could have been.
As much as Americans express pride in their political and legal system, it
is also true that they hold politicians and attorneys in very low esteem.
The popular perception of lawyers as unethical and devious is not new and
here it permeates this modest 1940 feature. What George Brent does on the
screen has little connection to reality (there is one particularly silly
scene in which he grandstands by ingesting poison during a murder trial),
but sets the stage for his reformation and a happy ending.
The movie flies by so it may be worth 76 minutes of a viewer's time as a reminder of Hollywood's long-standing tradition of disparaging the legal profession.