20 May 2016 | MartinHafer
And to think...Eddie turned to a life of sin and depravity all because he lost a speech contest in high school!
This film is very similar to the exploitation films made by small studios during the 1930s, though this one has a bit more polish and a glossier look since it's from RKO. But like these super-cheap productions, the acting is suspect, the writing very suspect and the overall film rather stupid. I know that the other reviews (so far) have enjoyed the movie but I can't see what they saw in this dopey film.
When the film begins, Eddie is living in a nice home and life is grand. He's practicing for a speech contest about the Constitution but when it doesn't go well, he literally becomes a drunken jerk almost immediately! His new friends bring out the worst in him and his transformation is so rapid and so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh. It's more like "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" than a realistic film about youth gone wild! Where does all this end? Well, you are told at the onset that Eddie would face the death penalty...so it isn't like there's any suspense about the movie.
The film is anything but subtle. While it's not as ridiculous as trash films like "Sex Madness" and "Reefer Madness", it's not a whole lot better and comes off like one of these movies combined with "The Public Enemy"! In fact, it's often unintentionally very funny such as when Eddie (Eric Linden) is supposed to be drunk! Likewise, the final emotional scene is supposed to elicit tears...and I just felt a strong need to laugh! An awfully stupid film that apparently is a lesson warning us of the dangers of public speaking contests!