A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.
Brothers Monte and Ray leave Oxford to join the Royal Flying Corps. Ray loves Helen; Helen enjoys an affair with Monte; before they leave on their mission over Germany they find her in still another man's arms.
Bootlegger/cafe owner Ralph Bellamy recruits crude working man Wallace Beery to join his gang which is masterminded by crooked criminal defense lawyer Lewis Stone. Beery eventually takes over Bellamy's operation, beats a rival gang, becomes wealthy and dominates the city for several years until a secret group of 6 masked businessmen have him prosecuted and sent to the electric chair with the help of rival crusading newspapermen Clark Gable and Johnny Mack Brown. Waitress Jean Harlow is torn between her love for the honest newsman Brown and her financial dependence on her generous boss, Beery.Written by
After Wallace Beery spits a mouthful of chewing tobacco presumably on the floor or in a spittoon, two drools continue out of his mouth and onto his collar. As this was likely not in the script, it can be assumed this was left in on purpose. See more »
When Jean Harlow runs into the subway, she rushes through the turnstile without paying and onto a car. In real life, if she had not put in a token, the turnstile bar would have prevented her going on to the platform. See more »
What excuse did you give him for pretending to be a deaf-mute?
Well, I said I was married to a dame that was on the hunt for me and if she found me, she'd send me up for a rap.
And what did Mr. Scorpio say to that?
He said he was sorry for all married men. Wouldn't spill the beans.
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This crime drama features both an excellent cast and an excellent script by Frances Marion. The story could easily be filmed today and become a huge box office hit. Louie Scorpio (Wallace Beery) is an uneducated meathead from the streets with a thirst for money. He learns that bootlegging is a great way to get what he wants, so he joins up with Johnny (Ralph Bellamy) and "Newt" (Lewis Stone) who run a powerful gang in town. After bumping Johnny off, Louie becomes the leader and fixes half the town in his favor. Among the most desirable allies are the town reporters Hank (Johnny Mack Brown) and Carl (Clark Gable). He uses a beautiful dame (Jean Harlow) to keep them in line, but can't seem to shake the cops.
For an early talkie, the camera-work here is surprisingly innovative. There are scenes that feel very static and others that move fluidly through various sets. The lighting is fantastic and creates a beauty for a bleak storyline. Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't so impressive. Sometimes the dialogue is difficult to understand, so the story can become confusing in some areas. Thankfully, audiences will be able to figure things out fairly easily.
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