An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.
Based on the story "Mob Rule" by Norman Krasna. Joe Wilson and Katherine Grant are in love, but he doesn't have enough money for them to get married. So Katherine moves across the country to make money. But things go disastrously wrong for Joe when he stops in a small town and is mistaken for a wanted murderer. Through the course of the movie, Fritz Lang shows us how a decent and once civilized man can become a ruthless and bitter man.Written by
Andre'a M. Thompson <email@example.com>
Terry, better known as Toto from The Wizard of Oz (1939), appears in this film as the dog that Spencer Tracy takes in from the rain at the beginning of the movie, becoming his traveling companion into the netherworld of small-town America. See more »
At end of movie when Spencer Tracy is standing in front of judge, the wide shot shows nothing above his head but when he shares the shot with Sylvia Sydney the boom mic is shown just above their heads. See more »
Horribly melodramatic, but psychologically complex, well-directed and excellently edited. Spencer Tracy is an innocent man assumed guilty by a mob and "lynched." Making this 1936 film still-timely are the growth of the mob and its trial, conviction and execution of Tracy based only on speculation and emotion instead of on evidence and reason. Also, the line, "I will remind the jury of the easy habit of putting on foreigners events that disturb our conscience" comments on a tendency that still exists today (just listen to talk radio here in Massachusetts!). The story touches on many issues - morality, humanity, patriotism, law, politics, media, etc - and, as such, raises many issues for discussion. Teachers might consider showing this film in class as a start-point into exploration of today's issues. Spencer Tracy gives an appropriately melodramatic performance, but Edward Ellis as the town sheriff gives the best (albeit small) performance. For entertainment value, I'd give this film 6/10; but for fans of any of the stars, the director, or for advocates of civil rights and justice, this film is worth about 8/10; finally, as a tool for teachers, 10/10.
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