Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    That's what Rose Abbott (Marian Marsh) calls high roller Henry Judson (Reginald Denny) - he is a banker who is fiddling the books to finance his extravagant lifestyle. It seems everything happens at night (clubs)!!! Firstly, one of his old friends, lawyer Kearney (Richard Bennett) is seeking a loan of $5,000 to collect vital evidence to save a young man from the electric chair, then hat check girl Rose bails him up to secure a driving job for her boyfriend Wally Baker (Norman Foster). Unfortunately the next morning Judson's past catches up with him - bank manager, dour Mr. Waters (Irving Pichel) has drawn up a statement to show just how much Judson has embezzled in six months - would you believe $480,000!!! As Waters, who is understandably bitter at the way he has done all the hard work while Judson has received all the glory, says "Once you have repaid it, feel free to steal more"!!!

    But in this crazy movie good hearted Judson still finances Kearney his loan and Wally can still keep his driving job. Must be one of the few movies where a dapper embezzler is the hero and the real villain is a creepy, dishonest bank manager. In the early thirties though, with banks going bust and foreclosing on the "little people's" farms and homes, it wasn't such a stretch of the imagination. Irving Pichel before he turned to directing was surely the most under rated character actor of the early thirties. His Waters is bitter and twisted and will stop at nothing to see Judson and his friends get their comeuppance!!! He and his cronie, Smith (Thomas E. Jackson) plan an elaborate frame up in which Judson is killed in a horrendous car accident and Wally gets the blame. They see Wally buy a lottery ticket from Rose's persistent friend (Nydia Westman), Smith comes calling, posing as a lottery agent and convinces Wally that he has won $3,000 prize money - even though the lottery isn't drawn until the following week. It is all geared to pave the way to show Wally was given the money to bump Judson off!!! But what's this??? In a thrilling finale.....

    Director Victor Schertzinger, who was more noted as a composer of popular songs, did a really good job of smoothing out what was a complicated and at times confusing story line - he also did the musical score as well. Poor Marian Marsh, once she was dropped by Warners, she started along the uncertain road of freelancing. And movies with titles like "Daring Daughters" and "Notorious But Nice" did not do her any favours. "Strange Justice" was one of the better ones. This is not to denigrate Miss Marsh - aside from being drop dead gorgeous, her performance in "Five Star Final" proved she had the talent to succeed.