Jack lives the high life and wants to make Marjorie his one and only. He then learns that his deceased father is alive but dying of lead poisoning. His father sent him away, twenty years ...
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Jack lives the high life and wants to make Marjorie his one and only. He then learns that his deceased father is alive but dying of lead poisoning. His father sent him away, twenty years before, to keep him out of the rackets. But now that he is dying, he wants to split the business between Giacomo (Jack) and Frank, his other son. The business includes running booze down from Canada.Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Gentleman's Fate is okay, nothing more. To maintain momentum it repeatedly lurches off into another plot tangent, peters out and then lurches again until it finally lurches to a blah finish. It begins with the dapper and handsome Mr. John Gilbert as a pampered Park Avenue- type playboy rising uncharacteristically at 7:30am to declare that he is finished playing the field and determined to marry and settle down with pretty Leila Hyams. Just as he is proposing to her to the strains of "Little White Lies" on the radio over morning coffee against the skyline of the Big Apple, the phone rings, and here is the first lurch. The caller is his wealthy, powerful, Italian-accented "guardian," suddenly informing him that his biological father is dying in Jersey City and wants to see him. He is directed to the "Ritzi" hotel, a dive where he discovers he has a biological brother (played by Louis Wolheim who looks absolutely nothing like Gilbert, an irony which the script is forced to address momentarily) and a gangster father succumbing to a bullet wound from a mob fight. The dying father gives Gilbert an emerald necklace which he in turn passes on to his fiancée, but soon she finds out that it had been stolen from a friend of hers. When she realizes her fiancée is not what she thought, she breaks the engagement, and in a fit of disappointment, Gilbert joins the mob and learns the bootlegging trade. Just when he has mastered it, another lurch. Anita Page shows up as the moll of a rival gang sent to spy on Gilbert's gang, but she switches loyalties, falls in love with Gilbert, and . I won't go on, lest I spoil the plot for those who haven't seen the film. Marie Prevost provides comic relief, such as she can, as a Ritzi denizen who spends her time uttering inanities while feeding her face with whatever foodstuffs are available.
The photogenic and refined Gilbert is called upon to enact various states including carefree, exuberant, poetic, romantic and passionate, drunk and angry. He is good to excellent at all of them. He is eminently watchable. His voice was indeed high pitched, but not extremely so. One can only guess that his molten lover image from the silent days hung over his screen persona to such an extent that audiences expected more depth from the vocal chords. There is no logical reason why Gilbert should be cast in this role. Antonio Moreno, perhaps, or maybe even Ricardo Cortez, but Gilbert? Clearly, MGM was out to sabotage him and to his credit he stood up and did justice to the thankless task presented to him.
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