Friday, February 11, 2011


In this romantic melodrama set at the height of the Depression, Loretta Young is a starving young woman whom we first meet on a big city park bench. Spencer Tracy, in a tux and feeding pigeons, offers to take her to dinner, which he does, but at the end of the meal, she finds out that he's as broke as she is (he's wearing the tux as part of an advertising gimmick for which he gets paid a few bucks). He talks the restaurant manager into not calling the cops and takes her to the shantytown where he lives, and they quickly shack up together. He's a blustery guy, rather rough around the edges, and she's sweet and innocent, but despite his having a little affair on the side with showgirl Glenda Farrell, they clearly care for each other and make their bumpy relationship work. When she gets pregnant, he gets scared off briefly but returns and has a homeless preacher (Walter Connelly) marry them. However, the urge for going gets strong again, and he gets involved in a robbery scheme so he can leave Young some money. Of course, things don't go smoothly, though, since this is a pre-Code film, the ending is not as predictable as you might think. Tracy and Young are the focus of the film and they're both fine (in other hands, Tracy's character might be quite hard to take as a "good guy"), but equally good are Connelly as the sympathetic Bible-thumper, Arthur Hohl as a nasty little shit, and Marjorie Rambeau as a tough old boozy gal who plays in important role in the climax of the film. A memorable line: a person whips out a gun and says, "This ain't murder, it's housecleaning!" I'm not really a big fan of Tracy's but this is worth seeing. [TCM]

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