Golden is a two-bit gambler who has promised wife Virginia he'll quit when he makes $200,000. When he fixes a fight he gets mobster Mossiter mad, then loses his fortune to him. He pawns his...
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Golden is a two-bit gambler who has promised wife Virginia he'll quit when he makes $200,000. When he fixes a fight he gets mobster Mossiter mad, then loses his fortune to him. He pawns his wife's jewels and takes out an insurance policy on himself.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Regardless of the antecedents of plot to actual persons living or dead, this film exudes power from the performances, especially those of Spencer Tracy and his wife in film, Helen Twelvetrees, the latter rather a forgotten star for a brief period in the early 1930's; the famous Tracy intensity glows off his performance as a incorrigible gambler, whose charge comes from the challenge, not the win, and who neglects his wife in so many ways--among them an almost public fling with Alice Faye; the latter home-town blonde of the late 1930's here as a blowsy, blonde-out-of-a-bottle good time girl who creates a permanent rift in Tracy's marriage.
For film fans, there is a delightful cast of vintage character actors, Hobart Cavanaugh being a particular standout, and little Miss Shirley Temple making a brief appearance kissing her Daddy The Honest Judge goodnight.
Twelvetrees is handed the heavy melodrama, but handles most of it well, particularly as the plot develops, exuding a sort of Lillian Gish quality of loving forgiveness.
Yes, it's pre-code melodrama, and most of the plot can be predicted, but I found the honesty of the performances and the interaction of the characters, mixed with a good deal of local color (street performers, brassy night club singers, boxers on the take) made the film fascinating, if not a classic. One hopes that the Fox archives will get ahold of it and make a decent print--and release it in a box of early Spencer Tracy at Fox films.
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