Academy award earned by Lionel Barrymore. I'd like to raise here the quality of the performers. Shearer, Gable and Barrymore are truly excellent. In my opinion, the last part of the film, talkative and redemptive, taking place in prison and in court, is a lot weaker than the other parts but all in all, I highly recommend this Clarence Brown film. A DVD zone swinging 60's.
Bravo for Lionel Barrymore. Shearer and Gable are mesmerizing. And Leslie Howard should just never have happened to films. The film is a bit overly melodramatic, but it's also quite brave in its frank treatment of sex considering when it was made.
Jan is one of the great sluts of pre-code, sneaking away from her boozy dad to get manhandled by a sexy-as-hell gangster every night. It doesn't totally hold together (might have worked better as a lightning-paced Warner Bros movie, instead of a snails-paced MGM one), but for 3/4 of its length it is potent stuff.
3.5 stars. Howard does his best with the small amount of material he's given and Gable's appeal I've never understood, so this really is Shearer's and Barrymore's show (although former hasn't quite shaken off all her silent film gestures and expressions). They're simply amazing and make the whole movie remarkably modern. Unfortunately, the pace is sluggish and the court scene is unnecessary or at least too long.