Cliff and Chuck leave prison together. Cliff tries the straight life but falls back into crime with Chuck and his gang. When he makes enough to enable his brother Tim to buy a garage and marry his sweetheart, Cliff quits crime again. But when he tries to help Chuck later on, he's implicated again.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
When George Raft Goes into William Holden's room for a fight, he is wearing arm bands with his shirtsleeves pulled down over them. Then they disappear, and return in another shot in the same scene. See more »
[to the new cons]
The longer the term, the more good time they gotta give yuh.
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Two great tough-guy actors, Raft and Bogart, play ex-cons. Bogart leaves prison and goes right back to the gangster life. Raft tries to go straight but, distressed by his younger brother's economic hardship, finally decides to join Bogart's gang pals.
The pace is very slow until Raft joins Bogart in the robbery gang. The second act involves a good bit of sentimental and repetitive elaboration of how hard it is for an ex-con to get a break, how life is unfair to the working man, and how much George Raft loves his mother. A certain sort of New Deal/AFL-CIO sensibility permeates the script. At one point, a factory boss offers Raft $30 a week ($10 more than Raft was making at his last job) if Raft will spy on the factory workers, who are dissatisfied with working conditions. Raft punches the boss -- insulted that the guy would even ask him to be a stool pigeon. And there's a little imbroglio between Holden and some stereotypical rich guy (with top hat and limousine) who unintentionally insults Holden's fiancee.
But after the proletarian class-struggle theme is exhausted, Raft joins up with Bogart's gang and the REAL action begins, featuring some well-choreographed shootouts and chase scenes.
Raft's performance is kind of weak, because he's trying to play a nice, sympathetic character -- it just doesn't work. Bogart is delightful as the disillusioned cynic, who is nonetheless loyal and reasonably noble in the end. A special pleasure in 30s flicks like this is the double-breasted suit-and-fedora gangster style. It's hard to imagine modern-day hoodlums dressing so sharp (even if they were gauche enough to wear their hats indoors).
(NOTE: Contrary to another member's comment, William Holden plays George Raft's younger brother, not his son.)
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