Director: George Archainbaud
Writers: Paul Schofield, Wallace Smith
Stars: Evelyn Brent, Regis Toomey, Ralf Harolde
RATING: 3 Stars
Rose Manning, the daughter of a racketeer who has just been killed, along with a policeman, in a shoot-out is undergoing a hard third-degree grilling from Police Inspector “Butch” McArthur, and she leaves with a desire for revenge against McArthur. Five years later she is a hostess in a nightclub, and still surrounded by gangsters. She falls hard for a young man named Jimmy, and does not realize he is the son of the man she hates. When she learns who he is, the question of whether or not to take her revenge or let love take over. – From IMDB
This film is pure Film Noir from beginning to end, and as someone who loves Noir a lot, I found this to be highly enjoyable, and a great early example of the genre. Especially because the star of this film is a female, in a very male dominated genre, and she holds up her part brilliantly, even if she is literally the only woman with a speaking part in this entire film.
The plot and the script do call for a certain amount of melodrama, so the villains are almost cartoonish in the villainy, stopping just short of rubbing their hands together and cackling maniacally. And Brent’s femme fatale role is about as stereotypical as they come. As far as early talkies go though, the melodrama is kept under control, there are some far worse one out there from this era.
The plot is pretty simple and run of the mill for this sort of thing, but I liked that I couldn’t quite figure out how it was going to end. The end was a little too convoluted, and it played out a little too conveniently for me, but I did like the symmetry between the end and the opening shots of the film, very clever idea.
It’n not one that will stick with me, far too generic for that, but for the hour long runtime, it was fairly entertaining and had an interesting enough plot to keep me engaged. Fans of Film Noir could do a lot worse. This is a Public Domain film, so you can watch it below,