Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Top Billed Actors: Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy
IMDb Rating: 7.2
*Exclusive Award Winner*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Writing (Story) - Arthur Caesar
Nominated for 0 more
Plot: One woman gets to experience both sides of the law as she subsequently falls in love with best friends who represent each. She sees just how "good" the "bad" side can be.
The sole reason I watched this flick is the fact it won a Best Writing statuette. It is always hard to judge this category, as the other nominees are usually never nominated for Best Picture during this era. Movies as a means to tell an original story was still a novel concept in the 1930s. A good original screenplay was rare in this time and it is nice to find one here. The conundrum of two best friends, one a respectable politician and the other a respected gangster, facing off in the eyes of the people and the law, is portrayed in a very intriguing manner. Although Clark Gable commits numerous crimes, his motives are always well intentioned and the viewer really feels for the sticky situations Powell gets in. Does he stick with his firm morals and principles or bend them in favor of his best friend? The acting is superb by both men and I am also pleased to see Loy act so well too, as we will be seeing much more of her.
A couple of things did irk me, however. The two events that lead the two friends to become orphans towards the beginning of the picture happens back to back. You don't feel too much for them because the events simply just happen without any back-story. It would have been great to see more of their childhood and see just how close they were. Instead, we are treated with how different they were when younger. That would mean more acting from the bothersome child actors though, so pick your poison there. The comic relief actress is something to be desired as well. Gable's dumb crony is enough humor, but his girlfriend is over the top and doesn't fit.
Overall, a well paced story explores some interesting situations in the face of the law. Some issues in the first act mixed in with some awkward attempts at humor scale the score back.
My Score: 7/10