Remote Control (1930)

Passed   |    |  Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Remote Control (1930) Poster

A radio announcer suspects a cohort of sending coded messages over the air to his bank-robber friends.


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21 August 2012 | dglink
| Haines Past His Prime
William Haines made an easy transition to sound, and his voice provided added dimension to his wisecracking on-screen character. In 1930's "Remote Control," Haines plays Bill Brennan, the brash over-confident manager of a radio station in need of a bailout. In what would today be regarded as sexual harassment, Brennan ardently pursues a female station employee, played by Mary Doran. The Haines-Doran match is an unlikely affair, either on or off screen, and, in any case, Doran is infatuated with a suave phony psychic, played by the greasy John Miljan. Hired by Brennan to provide on-air advice from the great beyond, Miljan instead broadcasts instructions to his gang of thieves thinly disguised as messages from the spirits.

Although still handsome, youthful, and full of energy, Haines was nearing the end of his career with "Remote Control," and he would retire only four years later. Haines fans will delight in his often-childish facial expressions and campy performance; non-fans may be less enthusiastic. However, neither fans nor non-fans will find this to be his best work or his best film. After a light breezy start, the plot veers into a grade-B crime flick, while Haines ignores the turn and sticks his tongue out at gangsters. Despite the efforts of three credited directors, this early talkie is typically stiff and stagy; the camera fluidity that reached a zenith in the late silent era has been lost to the demands of sound recording. While "Remote Control" is essential viewing for admirers of William Haines, the film may be a tough slog for others.

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