1 October 2016 | AlsExGal
What a wonderful mess of a film ....
... with some Hitchcockian irony thrown in. This was certainly a good vehicle for Evelyn Brent who plays Rose Manning. The first scene is her surrounded by cops acting like a football team. Maybe if they confuse her with enough questions she'll confess? In this case they are looking for the killer of her father. Two of his associates are shown to her in a lineup and she says she does not know them.
Meanwhile she is sure that Police Inspector "Butch" McArthur (William Holden...no not THAT William Holden) is responsible for her beloved dad's murder, and years later she still wants revenge.. She goes to work for gangster Chuck Gaines (Raf Harolde) as a hostess at his nightclub. At least I THINK that's her job. She doesn't sing or dance, just goes from table to table. The front story to keep the customers off of her is that she is Gaines' girl. Problem is, the story is apparently so convincing even Gaines believes it. A young guy is at the club night after night (Regis Toomey as Jimmy) who is head over heels for Rose and wants to marry her, taking up all of Rose's time. She thinks he is just a sweet kid until she finds out Jimmy is actually the inspector's son, the son of the man she think killed her dad. What worse revenge could she send upon him than to have a gun moll as his daughter in law? Meanwhile Chuck Gaines is a dumb gangster or the police are even more dumb. First off, Raf Harolde portrays his gangster more as cowardly weasel than brains of a syndicate. Jimmy Cagney he is not. But then WB in its prime RKO is not either, so what can I say? Gaines never does the killing himself, he always sends his doorman out to do the job, dressed up in a costume as obvious as an organ grinder, and uses the same corner drugstore and the same time (midnight) for all of his hits. The owner of the all night drugstore, the police, and the fact that it is all of Gaines' old friends that are being bumped off should make somebody wise to this guy's ways.
How does this all work out? Very ironically in a way you'd never guess. Yes some of the scenes are laughable, but overall it is one of the better early talkie films I've seen from that year.