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I also write for Influx Magazine--where many of my opinions and reviews are also posted.
A Gathering of Old Men (1987)
Good but the ending wasn't entirely satisfying.
The cast of "A Gathering of Old Men" is quite impressive for a made for TV movie, with Lou Gossett, Holly Hunter and Richard WIdmark, among others.
The story is set in rural Louisiana and when it begins, a nasty white guy is tracking down a black man and he intends to kill him. However, the victim manages to get a shotgun and he manages to kill the attacker. Because the local Cajuns are a very racist lot, there are fears that they'll start hanging black men...using the clearly justified killing as a justification. As for the local Sheriff (Widmark), he doesn't want any lynchings...but he is a racist and a brute to boot. As for the black community and the white landlady (Hunter), they ALL claim to have killed the guy...making it impossible to arrest anyone. How will this all end?
The film has some good acting and is interesting, albeit a bit talky. But the ending isn't great, as the fate of the killer is never really determined....just the reaction of his black neighbors. Odd...but still worth seeing.
The Paper (1994)
Frenetic...and NOT a movie for those who have a hard time focusing....but still quite good.
"The Paper" is a film directed by Ron Howard that has an amazingly frenetic pace. The film has many rapid cuts, many scenes where folks are all talking over each other and a complicated structure. Now I am NOT saying it's bad...but it's not a film for the easily distracted!
The story is about a 24 hour period at a tabloid newspaper in New York City. It mostly revolves around a workaholic editor (Michael Keaton) but also about a double-murder that has the city up in arms. A couple innocent black teens are arrested for the killings but the editor insists that there's more to the story and the kids are innocent.
This movie is so very unusual and its pace might put you on edge. I know this was the director's intention, but it clearly is NOT a film for everyone and it's also a bit gritty and the language is tough. Well worth seeing in spite of the crazy pacing and story.
Key and Peele (2012)
Really, really good...but by season 5, it was time to move on.
I never watched "Key and Peele" during its first run on TV. My oldest daughter finally convinced me to watch it, and I was thrilled to see it's currently on HBO Max and I really enjoyed the show. Many of the skits are terrific and are hilarious. However, I should add a caveat. The longer the series was made, the weaker the skits...particularly by its final season, season five. Because of this, I'd rate the early seasons a 10 and the later ones 5 or 6...the drop in quality was THAT noticeable. So, my recommendation is that if you watch, start at the beginning and don't watch the later episodes until you are hooked...otherwise you might just assume the show isn't all that great.
African Treasure (1952)
Bomba versus the diamond smugglers.
"African Treasure" is the 7th of 12 Bomba the Jungle Boy films, which were made by Monogram films in the late 40s and into the 50s. It's better than most I've seen and holds up a bit better over time.
A group of ruthless diamond smugglers have kidnapped folks and are using them to mine for diamonds in the jungle. Bomba comes to the rescue and saves the day.
While the plot is very simple and the conclusion foregone, the movie works a bit better than usual because unlike most jungle films of the era, this one is NOT filled with ill-suited stock footage of animals. Too often, when they are used in movies of the 1930s-50s, the animals often aren't even African ones and the footage is quite grainy. For some reason, the filmmakers decided not to use such footage and it makes for a better movie. Now I am NOT saying "African Treasure" is any sort of classic but it does play reasonably well and is enjoyable.
The Great Gildersleeve (1942)
The sixth AND first Gildersleeve film.
"The Great Gildersleeve" was a very popular radio show from 1941-1958. It was a spinoff from another radio show, "Fibber McGee and Molly". Not surprisingly, the show was so popular that it led to several movies. The first string of Gildersleeve films were based on the character from "Fibber McGee and Molly" and were made by Paramount. This film, "The Great Gildersleeve" sounds as if it's the first Gildersleeve film but it's actually the sixth...but the first made by RKO studio.
In this story, Throckmorton Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) is the guardian of his niece and nephew. He thinks his kids need the influence of a woman and he asks his aunt (Jane Darwell) to move in with them. Unfortunately, Judge Hooker's matronly sister is smitten with Gildersleeve and thinks he wants to marry her...something he definitely does NOT want to do! But with the Judge overseeing the guardianship, Gildersleeve is worried that the Judge will take away his guardianship if he doesn't marry the sister. How does he avoid this and what's next? See the film and find out for yourself...though it, surprisingly, includes a visit from the Governor.
While the film isn't perfect (Peary's laugh is tough to handle and the rear projection is a bit annoying), the story is entertaining and ends well. Worth seeing.
My Life in Ruins (2009)
Silly and fun.
I was surprised to see that the overall rating for "My Life in Ruins" is a paltry 5.9. And, when I thought about it, I wasn't too surprised as there apparently are a lot of folks who dislike the film's star, Nia Vardalos...though I am not sure why. Many of her films have rather low ratings...both her bad films and good ones.
Vardalos plays Georgia, an American who is working in Greece as a tour guide...albeit not a very good one. It's because she clearly hates her job...and her clients. However, through the course of the story, she learns to love her work and lets go of her usual style of leading tour groups...all thanks to love.
While I would agree that the story is a bit predictable, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. You know it will leave you happy...and so a nice, happy ending isn't exactly a surprise...and is actually welcome. This is because the characters and writing are very nice and the film makes for an excellent date night picture.
Twice Blessed (1945)
Sort of like "The Parent Trap" but with two actresses instead of one.
As you watch "Twice Blessed", it's obvious that this film was later remade as "The Parent Trap" by Disney. However, if you check the IMDB pages for each film, they claim to be written by different writers...which is odd since the Disney film clearly wasn't just inspired by "Twice Blessed"...it is, essentially, the same film with one major difference. Instead of using one actress to play both twin sisters, in this original actual twins, Lyn and Lee Wilde, play twin sisters.
Jeff and Mary (Preston Foster and Gail Patrick) are godawful parents. After they divorced, they separated their twins...with Jeff taking one and Mary taking the other! While the girls get to spend a little time together, they essentially live separate lives because the parents are jerks. On a lark, the girls agree to switch places without telling their parents...and both have difficulty adjusting to their sister's very different lives. Goofiness ensues. At the same time, their parents start reassessing their divorce.
While you'd THINK both sisters would be very similar because they are identical, oddly in this film they are totally different...with one being a swing-loving teen and the other being a super brainiac. Oddly, the brainiac needs glasses...the other doesn't! To me, this is a weakness of the plot and makes the switch seem a bit silly. Another weakness is the unlikability of the parents and the father's very nasty girlfriend, Alice. Overall, an interesting plot due to its obvious connection to the Disney films but one that really makes little sense when you think about it...something you could also say about the Disney ones as well.
Penrod's Double Trouble (1938)
Penrod's back...sort of.
In 1937-38, Warner Brothers made three Penrod movies which were based on a character created by Booth Tarkington. Oddly, in 1938, two Penrod films debuted...but there was no continuity whatsoever about them in many ways. While the Mauch twins, Billy and Robert, were stars in each, inexplicably his parents were replaced by other actors. Additionally, in "Penrod's Twin Brother", Penrod finds out that he has an identical stranger...but in this follow-up the two boys once again don't know about each other! It's as if the two films really aren't sequels at all and the studio did a slapdash job with the series as there are tons of contradictions in the movies.
Exactly like the previous film, Penrod is in trouble for all sorts of shenanigans that were actually perpetrated by his nemesis, Rodney. As a result of his being falsely accused, Penrod runs away and his parents offer a reward for his return. An unscrupulous carnie (are there any other type in old films?!) tries to pass off the identical boy as Penrod.
I was not a huge fan of the previous film...but at least it made some sense. This movie, in contrast, just seems like they made two different Penrod scripts at the same time and filmed each without any sort of concern that they are so contradictory....which seems to be the case. The only way you can really enjoy "Penrod's Double Trouble" is if you never watch the previous film.
The sad fact is that this film actually is a bit better than the previous one...and so it's worth seeing...just not in addition to "Penrod's Twin Brother". Not a great film but reasonably entertaining. But it's also a film without an audience, as it was targeted to kids...and I cannot imagine kids today enjoying this sort of faire.
Penrod and His Twin Brother (1938)
Okay....but mostly for kids...and I'm not sure if kids today would even enjoy it.
The character Penrod was created by the writer Booth Tarkington and was not just a literary character but movie character as well. A variety of sound and silent films were made with the character and in 1937-38, Warner Brothers made three films starring the Mauch twins...Billy and Robert. That same year, the two appeared in "The Prince and the Pauper" but their careers in films were rather brief.
Penrod and his doggy keep getting in trouble throughout this film. What no one realizes is that it's NOT Penrod nor his dog who are causing problems...it's an identical stranger and his nasty dog. In addition to this problem, there is a robbery and one of Penrod's friends is kidnapped. Can Penrod and his gang manage to get to the bottom of both problems?
This film probably played very well for kids in 1938...though I think time has not been kind to this one. Kids today probably won't like it and adults might find it all a bit schmatzy. I thought it was passable entertainment but basing an entire film on these kids was probably not a great idea...and this might explain why the Mauch twins only made three of these films. This one, incidentally, was the second.
Letters to Juliet (2010)
Lovely...and not just for romance junkies.
"Letters to Juliet" is a delight for romance movie buffs but it's so well made and sweet that anyone could enjoy the movie.
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is engaged to a most unusual man. Instead of going to Italy for their honeymoon, Victor (Gael García Bernal) wants to go there BEFORE. Why? Because he's about to open the restaurant of his dreams...and once they marry it will be open and he'll need to be there for that. Once in Italy, however, Sophie is disappointed to find that Victor has no interest in traditional tourism. Instead, he wants to meet chefs, attend wine auctions and see markets...and he seems to have little regard for his wife to be. It's obvious that his first love is not her but his dream.
Because of Victor's odd behaviors, Sophie is left to fend for herself in Siena. One place she visits is the balcony of Juliet's home...of Romeo & Juliet fame. She's intrigued mostly because of the way other tourists view this monument...many crying, many being overwhelmed and many posting letters on the walls to his home. So, instead of running about, she just sits and observes. Ultimately, however, after everyone's gone, a woman appears and begins removing the letters. Why? Well, it turns out a group of volunteers read the letters and try to answer them. In fact, after befriending these ladies, they encourage her to answer one as well. The one she chooses is one she found hidden behind some stone in the wall...a letter dated from 1957! What's next? Well, a lot of fun, a lot of nice folks and a lot of romance.
The best thing about the movie isn't the plot but the characters as well as the lovely look of the film due to the cinematography and direction. As for the acting, it's top-notch. Vanessa Redgrave gives one of her very best and touching performances, though Seyfried and the rest also shine. Overall, a truly terrific date movie...and a film for anyone except the most hard-core curmudgeons. Woefully underrated and sweet.
The Cheyenne Kid (1933)
About average to slightly above average for the genre.
To me, one of the least appealing western sidekicks was Roscoe Ates. This is because his shtick was stuttering...and it wasn't funny...just annoying. In many films Ates doesn't stutter...but in every western I've seen, he stutters like Porky Pig. Unfortunately for Tom Keene, he's saddled with this stuttering fool in "The Cheyenne Kid".
The story begins at a rodeo. A jerk tries to sabotage Tom's ride on a bucking broncho. But Tom's so good, he manages to win anyway. So, the jerk then resorts to stealing Tom's winnings! Not surprisingly, Tom chases him down and gets his horse shot out from under him*. So, he takes the would-be assassin's horse and heads into town...and the townsfolk think HE is the bandit, Denver Ed. Unfortunately, his dim friend (Ates) has also gotten a job working for a thieving murderer!
While I'll be the first to admit that Keene had little in the way of charisma in this film compared to other B-western stars of the day, the film itself is pretty good. Some might be because it's an RKO-Radio production and the budget seemed a bit better than similar movies.
The Prisoner of Swing (1938)
For everyone who longed for a singing/dancing version of "The Prisoner of Zenda".
In 1937, Selznick Pictures scored a big hit with "The Prisoner of Zenda" (with Ronald Colman) and the film is still a delight to watch. Apparently, Warner Brothers thought parodying the picture in this musical short would be a good idea.
The film begins with a guy (Hal Le Roy) arriving in the kingdom to play at the King's ball. It just so happens that the King and the musician look identical...and soon the musician is drafted to pose as the King after he's abducted. Soon, however, some realize this guy CANNOT be the real King because he's not a jerk!
Hal Le Roy was never a big star but appeared in quite a few pleasant shorts. He often sang and danced in them. I think he never went further because, sadly, he was a gangly looking guy who just didn't have the Hollywood look. On hand for support was a complete unknown at the time...a young June Allyson in one of her earliest roles.
So is this any good? Well, the singing and dancing are nice, though I thought they should have infused more comedy into the film...though there are a few funny moments. Overall, a pleasant films...but by all means DON'T skip the 1937 movie...it's amazing.
The Prospecting Bear (1941)
Words to live by....'never give a bear dynamite....or a donkey'!
In the 1940s, MGM made some really terrific cartoons. Tex Avery's were the best, though their Tom & Jerry toons were also marvelous. Slightly below them in quality and enjoyability were the Barney Bear shorts. He was NOT a bad character...he just wasn't quite as good as the others at that time.
In "The Prospecting Bear", Barney discovers gold soon after the cartoon begins. But HOW will he excavate this gold? Well, he decides to use dynamite...and you KNOW it won't end well...especially since his donkey keeps eating it!
As you'd expect from MGM, the animation and backgrounds are truly beautiful. As for the gags, they are pretty good but not enough to make it a must-see movie.
Her Kind of Man (1946)
A very good movie whose only serious deficit is its female lead's odd actions.
"Her Kind of Man" is a second-tier A-picture. In other words, it's a feature film...but it stars a cast of folks who were Warner Brothers' lesser stars. Now this does NOT mean it's a bad or second-rate film....as I certainly enjoyed it.
Two men are in love with a professional singer, Georgia (Janis Paige). One is a slick gambler who is GENERALLY an honest guy (Zachary Scott). The other is a very decent reporter who is easy to like (Dane Clark). Inexplicably, she chooses the gambler and marries him, though considering how many enemies he's made, you know their marriage won't be a rousing success!
This is a nice noirish film. I enjoyed the very downbeat plot and the various sleazy characters. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that I found it very hard to believe the lady would choose the gambler and do all in with him...it just seemed a bit confusing. But, in real life, I guess things like this do happen from time to time. Well worth seeing.
My Past (1931)
The morals in this film are surprising...even now in the 21st century.
Folks who haven't seen many old films often assume that they were all morally chaste and 'nice'. Well, this was true of nearly all films made between 1934 and about 1960 due to the tough Production Code which severely restricted the content in Hollywood films. However, before July, 1934, films were occasionally pretty scandalous...even by modern standards. While "My Past" doesn't have any nudity and the language is all strictly PG-rated, the plot itself is, well, rather sleazy...surprisingly so.
Doree Macy is an actress...and she apparently has a non-conventional sense of morality. She is interested in two men who both run a steel company. John (Lewis Stone) is older and single...Bob (Ben Lyon) is married. Of the two, she prefers Bob but realizes that because he's married, their relationship cannot result in marriage. But she throws caution to the wind and while his wife is away, the two have an affair. When the wife returns, Doree walks away...saying it was all in good fun. What she doesn't realize is that Bob's wife is totally disinterested in him...and wants a divorce. But by then it's too late...Doree is back with John. What's next?
Even by modern standards, this movie is pretty sleazy since it seems very pro-adultery. Additionally, Doree is quite the bohemian, swimming naked with Bob and enjoying a lusty sex life. It's not surprising that films like this eventually resulted in some backlash from 1930s audiences, and by 1934 box office receipts were way down...and Hollywood decided to actually enforce the new Code.
So is it any good? No. It's not just that the film offers a sleazy message...but it actually manages to be awfully boring in the process!! How can a film feature a nude swimming scene, adultery and more...yet manage to put you to sleep? Well, this one sure did for me!
Registered Nurse (1934)
An unusual combination of comedy and drama...and a LOT of Pre-Code sensibilities.
Bebe Daniels was a very interesting Hollywood star. In her early days, during the 1910s and into the 1920s, she was frequently employed in comedy shorts...most often with Harold Lloyd and Snub Pollard. These were light but enjoyable films. However, in the later 20s and into the sound era, suddenly she reinvented herself and became a starring lady in a variety of dramas, such as "Registered Nurse".
When the story begins, Sylvia and her husband are having an argument. Unexpectedly, he then deliberately drives their car into a tree...nearly killing her.
The film then jumps ahead and Sylvia is going back to work as a nurse at a hospital. Of all the nurses, she is the best...nearly perfect and beloved by the patients and staff. In fact, a couple doctors are very interested in her and eventually she has to tell them the truth...that she's still married and her husband is in an asylum for the mentally ill! However, late in the story, it looks like one of her admirers might be able to operate on the husband and make him normal once again....and then the unexpected happens.
The film came out just a few months before the new Production Code came into effect. Because of this, much of the plot simply would not have been allowed in a film released after July, 1934. For example, the film has a character named 'Sonnevich' (yes, it sounds almost exactly like you think), the film seems to advocate suicide and there are a lot of VERY colorful moments that simply never would have been in a post-Code movie.
So is it any good? Yes. And, it offers a most unusual combination of comedy AND drama! While the movie isn't perfect and is a tad predictable, it is exciting and Sidney Toler's part in the film is simply unbelievable! See it...and see what I mean.
Cash McCall (1960)
The plot is quite complicated...but very satisfying.
"Cash McCall" is a very unusual film because you don't even see the title character until 15-20 minutes into the story! During this time, you learn that Cash (James Garner) has a reputation as a venture capitalist who often breaks apart companies in order to make himself rich. So, by the time you actually see him, you will likely have a tendency to dislike him. This would be a mistake, as there is far, far more to the man and there is also a love affair, a jealous woman and more.
This is a very complicated movie. It's exceptional and well worth seeing...but it's also the type film you need to watch and pay attention to. If you do, I can almost guarantee you'll enjoy the picture. It's well written, well acted and offers many surprises. One of James Garner's best.
Hot Money (1936)
A very fast paced and enjoyable B-picture.
This is the 14th of 17 films made by Ross Alexander, a talented but doomed young actor. I say 'doomed' because only a short time after completing the film, and at age 30, Alexander committed suicide. What a sad waste.
The plot for "Hot Money" is ridiculous. A wacky scientist has come up with a formula to turn water into gasoline and it apparently works. But before learning the formula and actually buying it, some dopey investors start a company and plan on going public. But they also need a man to sell this idea and, oddly, they get Chick Randall (Alexander)...straight from a stint in prison!! Oddly, however, Chick walks, talks and acts like a huckster...but he really believes in the company. But after selling many shares in their new company, the inventor...and his formula...disappear!
The fast pacing is perfect for this film....and the movie never seems to slow down in the least! And, while I might not have cast Alexander in the role (I would gotten Lee Tracy), he was excellent here. A fun and enjoyable film...thanks to a dandy script.
A Well-Spent Life (1971)
Incredibly slow and dull...but STILL an important documentary.
This short documentary is about Mance Lipscomb, a country Blues guitarist who was discovered when he was in his 60s. Despite some fame and money from the sale of his albums, he was a very simple man and enjoyed his lifestyle. The film consists of Lipscomb just talking and reminiscing about his life...with no narration or much in the way of structure. Now this makes for a somewhat dull film, I'll admit it. But I STILL am glad they made "A Well-Spent Life" because it's a historical document of the man, his times and a lost way of life. And, as a retired history teacher, this alone would recommend this picture.
For the Love of Mary (1948)
This was Deanna Durbin's final film...and I can see why.
Deanna Durbin is an interesting case when it comes to Hollywood stars. While she was among the most popular stars of her day, she retired when she was in her 20s. Why? Apparently she disliked the scripts she was being offered by Universal Studios and instead of making more, she decided to stay home and raise a family. Well, after seeing her final film, "For the Love of Mary", I can certainly understand why she retired...the writing was incredibly convoluted and, need I say, ridiculous. So, despite her charm in the lead, the film is at times a chore to watch.
When the story begins, Mary (Durbin) is going to her new job as a switchboard operator at the White House. It seems that she had been working at the Supreme Court and she was apparently beloved by the Justices...who keep phoning her and keep getting involved in her life. In addition to these guys meddling with her and her love life, the film gets really weird when the President himself starts meddling in her love life! What's next and which of her three suitors, if any, will she choose?
There is MUCH more to the plot than this...a lot more. So much more, in fact, that the story is incredibly complicated and nearly impossible to believe. After all, you'd THINK the President and Supreme Court justices would have a lot more to do than manage Mary's love life! Additionally, the role Durbin plays didn't give her much in the way of broadening her acting abilities and is a lot like her earlier child roles...but with added romance and the usual obligatory songs.
Overall, I didn't hate the film but I really did strongly dislike the writing. It was riddled with impossibilities, silly situations and cliches. As a result, I think Durbin was probably right to change her life radically after making this movie. And, radically she did change it...moving to France, shunning the spotlight and raising a family.
Mad About Music (1938)
Is the Durbin version any better?
One of Jane Powell's earliest films was "Delightfully Dangerous" and I was not exactly bowled over by it. Apparently, it was a remake of "Mad About Music" but instead of starring Powell, it starred Universal's big young singing star, Deanna Durbin.
The film finds young Gloria at an exclusive girls school in Switzerland. It seems her mother is a Hollywood star who has dumped her there where she is very lonely. This is made worse by the school bully who inexplicably hates this sweet young lady. So, to combat boredom and being so alone, Gloria creates a fictional father...complete with all sorts of exploits. She tells the girls that he's a big game hunter in Africa...and the bully demands Gloria show that he's real, as the bully suspects Gloria's made him up...which she has. So, she could either come clean about him or continue with the lie...and so she doubles down and tells everyone he's coming for a visit! So, she then heads to the train station and convinces a total stranger (Herbert Marshall) to accompany her. He has no idea about the lie and her classmates, at least temporarily, are appeased. But this certainly can't go on forever...so what's next?
This is an enjoyable film, though if you watch it there are two nagging problems that are bound to enter your mind. First, the man she convinces to be her father. He agrees to help her but there is no logical reason for this. Second, if you think about it, the idea of an adult man hanging out with a 14 year-old he doesn't even know AND tells everyone he's her father...well, that's mega-creepy! If you can manage to look past this, the film is enjoyable and fun...and weird.
Wash Your Step (1936)
Hal Le Roy stars as a door to door washing machine salesman. Of all the folks working at the company, he's the only one with positive results and the boss is impressed. But after Hal is set up by his supervisor, the boss' stuck-up wife is angry at him (though it's sure not clear why) and has her husband fire him. Soon, Hal lands on his feet and is teaching a rival washing machine company's staff his sales techniques...which involve singing and dancing!
This is a weird short...there's just no other way to describe it! But it's also cute and likable...and I really enjoyed the strangeness and nice ending.
Here We Go Again (1942)
"Fibber McGee and Molly" was an enormously popular radio program during the 1930s and 40s. Not surprisingly, this resulted in six movies...including this third one in the series. Unfortunately, I've never heard their radio show nor have I seen any of their films, so perhaps others can better judge how good this film is if you are a fan.
In addition to these characters, the film features radio stars, Throckmorton Gildersleeve of "The Great Gildersleeve". And, like Fibber McGee and Molly, he made a few films...which I really enjoyed. The same goes for Edger Bergen...who made a name for himself on the radio and in films as well.
In this story, the McGees are having an anniversary. When their plans for a party fall through, they decide on a second honeymoon. Unfortunately, the first place they go to is a real dump...so they decide to try another hotel. Unfortunately, it's a very expensive one and Fibber wonders how they can afford it. What's worse...Molly's old boyfriend (Gale Gordon) is there...and Fibber can't stand the guy. Does he have good reason? See the film and see for yourself.
This is a mildly enjoyable film. Nothing exceptional but pleasant and fun...and well worth seeing even if you are not familiar with these radio acts.
The Big Shot (1942)
Among Bogart's final gangster films before he went on to greater things.
Not the typical gangster role for bogart.
"The Big Shot" is a very good gangster film, but it represents a bit of a milestone for Humphrey Bogart. Up until that time, he made a living out of making B-movies and appearing in a lot of gangster films. However, with the success of "Casablanca" in 1942, he soon began getting better and mostly more heroic roles as he was now an A-lister in Hollywood. That same year, he also made "The Big Shot"...and it represents the last of his older period films.
Bogart plays Duke Berne...a career criminal and two-time loser. When the film begins, he's trying to go straight but finds the going very difficult. He finally succumbs to the lure of a life of crime and agrees to help with an armored car robbery. But his old girlfriend, Lorna, convinces him not to do this. Even though she has married a lawyer, she still cares about him and her convincing him NOT to get involved with the crime ends up biting him in the butt! How? Well, the police mess with the only witness in the case. But Duke's lawyer insists to him that he has nothing to fear and Duke turns himself in to the police since he knows they are looking for him. What Duke doesn't know is that the lawyer THINKS Duke and hid wife, Lorna, are having an affair and he deliberately throws the case. Duke is given a life sentence and he seems royally screwed. But there's MUCH more to the story...and you'll just have to see the film to know what's next.
This is a dandy film. Much of it is because Bogart does NOT play the typical sort of villain. He's rather sympathetic and decent, in his own way, and he does really well in the role. I also appreciate that for 1942, the film is ultra-violent and rather film noirish...with some great camera angles and a sense of foreboding. A truly excellent film...and, sadly, one seldom shown on TV.
Not without a few problems...but well worth seeing.
"The American Experience" is one of the best programs on American TV and has been for decades. It tells various stories about American history...most of which have rarely ever been talked about before. Now, I was an American History teacher and was surprised by "Plague at the Golden Gate" because I had never heard about an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in early 20th century San Francisco!
The summary of the show on IMDB and on PBS's website describe this film as one about anti-Chinese prejudices. Well, this is a PART of the story but to sum it up as just about prejudices does the story a great injustice....and it's NOT just about racism. I mention this because very often the series discusses racism in regard to the episodes but occasionally this is NOT exactly the whole story and you just need to see the show to see there is so much more to talk about...and, sadly, many parallels to the COVID outbreak today.
Overall, a very interesting show and one well worth seeing. It's a tad overlong but otherwise well made and fascinating.