Thursday, April 20, 2017


Rich, handsome John Gilbert is about to propose to Lelia Hyams when he gets a call from his guardian that changes his life: Gilbert isn't really an orphan, but the son of an unsavory bootlegger who is dying and wants to see Gilbert before he dies. When he visits his father on his deathbed, Gilbert also discovers he has a brother (Louis Wolheim), a gruff underling of his father's who wants Gilbert to join the business. After Dad dies, Gilbert does slowly get involved in the business, trying to keep his activities secret from Hyams, but when he agrees to take a rap and go to jail, she leaves him. Soon, in a trajectory that will be familiar to anyone who has read or seen The Godfather, Gilbert has taken over the bootlegging racket with gusto, and even killed a man who worked for his rival (John Miljan). Miljan doesn't take kindly to this and send his ex-moll (Anita Page) to spy on Gilbert; instead she falls in love. But when Miljan plans a more exacting revenge, a romantic ending is not in the cards. Gilbert is fine here, as is the bulldog-faced tough guy Wolheim who died of cancer before this film was released. Marie Provost provides nice comic relief as a secretary. Favorite exchange: "Say, Mike, are you plastered?"; "Sister, I'm stuccoed!" [TCM]

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