Production Company: Feature Productions
Distributor: United Artists
Top Billed Actors: Chester Morris, Harry Stubbs, Mae Busch
IMDb Rating: 6.0
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 0 Oscars
Nominated for 3 more:
Best Actor - Chester Morris
Best Art Direction - William Cameron Menzies
Plot: The husband of a policeman's daughter kills an undercover detective, who takes his sweet ass time to die.
With the silent version in mind, West seemed to be more creative in the cinematography and art direction than the other films I have reviewed from this era. The movie opens beautifully with Chester Morris' character leaving prison. Even though the movie is based on a play, it feels more like a movie rather than a play caught on film, like other movies in its time. The cinematography is top notch and it was a shame when the actual conversations started in the Bachman club. For the time period, Morris' acting was not bad though. His performance was much better than Warner Baxter's award-winning job in In Old Arizona (1928). Most of his dialogue sequences seem believable, except for the conclusion of the film.
It comes to no surprise that the acting in this film is not up to today's standards. It is not nearly as bad as previous films from the second Awards, such as In Old Arizona (1928) and Coquette (1929), but a few actors were worthy of cringe-status. Chester Morris, like I said above, was alright. So was Mae Busch, but Regis Toomey (in his film debut) and Purnell Pratt are absolute duds. The death scene with Toomey was horrendous and I felt relieved when he finally died. The story was interesting at times, with a drama of Morris' character pitted against cops who want to convict him for a murder that occurred at the same time Morris was attending a stage performance (hence the alibi), but the conclusion was rather lackluster.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction but it is still very outdated. This is not worth a watch, unless you are really into early crime drama.
My Score: 5/10