27 August 2010 | AlsExGal
A fine courtroom drama featuring the chemistry of Powell and Francis
But, for that matter, what movie did William Powell and Kay Francis team up in that wasn't a fine example of movie-making? William Powell plays William Foster, a flamboyant and successful defense lawyer that reminds me of Powell's Thin Man character except, unlike Nick Charles, William Foster is an unhappy man at his core. He gets drunk and pretty much stays that way to soothe this unnamed pain, not to add to the edge of a giddily happy life. His long-time lover, Irene Manners (Kay Francis), is the one thing he claims he can depend upon, but whenever he says this you get the feeling that he counts not even on that. Marriage is out of the question from Foster's standpoint, but Kay wants matrimony and finds someone who offers it in a less interesting package than Foster in the person of wealthy Jack Defoe. Jack and Irene meet late one night and take a ride in Jack's car to talk things out about the future - Irene is still unsure about how she wants to proceed. Irene is driving because Jack had been drinking. When Jack gets fresh, he causes the car to swerve and Irene hits a pedestrian. Jack sobers up quickly at this point and tells Irene to run away so he can claim responsibility for the wreck alone as he fears for Irene's reputation whether she is named as the driver or just a passenger. Unfortunately for Jack the pedestrian is dead. Also unfortunately for Jack, he still has the smell of alcohol on his breath when the police arrive.
Now Jack is up for manslaughter. Foster has never liked Defoe because he considers him a spoiled brat, and now Irene is begging Foster to defend Defoe in spite of that, all the time trying to keep from Foster the fact that she was with Jack that night and that they were talking marriage. Defoe is maintaining the same charade as Irene. Meanwhile the district attorney and the police have had just about enough of Foster winning every case he takes and are keeping a close eye on his business practices. Who will go to jail? Will anybody go to jail? Watch and find out.
William Powell and Kay Francis were always great together because they usually played less than perfect people that made the perfect couple. Regardless of how things worked out for them at the end of their films, you just felt their characters were soul mates. This film is a great showcase of their talents when they were at the peak of their popularity in the 30's.