Tuesday, May 24, 2011


A tired old plot gets an uninspired turn around the block in this lifeless film. Mae Clarke is tired of being the kept woman of gangster Robert Ellis; she’s carrying on an affair with James Hall (at first, the two deliberately don’t exchange information about their lives, not even their names, à la Last Tango in Paris, but that interesting little kink is not explored). Ellis doesn’t want to lose her, especially when he kills a man and wants her to give him an alibi, but she refuses to and marries Hall. Ellis tries escaping to Philadelphia but is caught and goes to jail, but when headlines crop up connecting Clarke to Ellis, Hall, under pressure from his wealthy parents, leaves her. She has a baby which Hall's mother tries to take from her, then Ellis escapes from jail and vows revenge against Clarke. The climax which sorts things out is as predictable as everything else. Clarke is OK, but both of her men are drab, cardboard figures. The melodramatic story was done to death in the early 30s and is not presented in any interesting fashion here. The only fun in the film is the mild comic relief of Marie Prevost as Clarke's friend and Paul Porcasi as her gangster boyfriend. Prevost's best line, when asked if Ellis has gone to Philadelphia: "No one goes to Philadelphia unless they have to." [TCM]

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