Friday, March 14, 2003


Fast paced, entertaining trifle with a solid supporting cast. Eric Linden strikes the right tone as an innocent but enthusiastic lad from rural Indiana who uses some inherited money to finance a trip to New York City to make his fortune. The ticket agent at the train station, Grant Mitchell, expresses skepticism and bets that he'll be back within a month. Staying in a fancy hotel room that he can barely afford, he seeks help from his older cousin, Walter Catlett; Linden thinks his cousin is a well-off man about town, but we know that he's a grifter, living day to day by whatever means possible, so Catlett looks upon Linden as his current meal ticket and soon the boy is squandering all of his nest egg on Catlett and his unsavory friends. Joan Blondell is Vida, a tough skinned chorus girl who happens to hail from a small town herself and soon falls for the kid. A drunken party in Linden's room gets out of control and a girl is accidently killed. Linden and Blondell are hunted down as likely suspects, while Guy Kibbee, the alcoholic hotel security man, eventually stumbles on the real killer in a rather quirky little plot twist that I won't spoil. Linden is blandly handsome, a bit like a second-string Jimmy Stewart, and he plays the role well with just enough piss and vinegar to make Blondell's crush seem realistic--although his standard way of flirting with her is to stare intensely at her like she's from another planet. Among the fine Warner Brothers supporting players present are Ned Sparks as a dissolute partyer (or is that "partier"? Neither one looks quite right!), Lyle Talbot as a young ruffian, and Humphrey Bogart as a slightly older ruffian who is always at odds with Talbot. Clarence Muse has a out-of-the-blue musical number at a nightclub, singing a nice little song called "Everyday Can Be Sunday." It really is a nice song, and I wonder why it never caught on. Fairly well written, well performed, generally amusing where it should be, and short enough not to wear out its welcome.

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