15 November 2011 | MartinHafer
I was a bit torn on this one--I wasn't sure whether to give it a 7 or an 8. Either way, it's a very good little film. Apparently, James Cagney was supposed to originally star in the movie but Lee Tracy eventually got the role. This film is a very good fit for Tracy, as he was the only guy at Warner Brothers who could talk as fast as Cagney---or even faster! Tracy plays a Walter Winchell-like muckraking journalist. His scruples are minimal and he seems very willing to stretch the truth in order to tell a good story---even if it means hurting a few people in the process. Because of this, his fiancé isn't sure whether she should marry him and she begs Tracy to find another line of work. But, it's obvious Tracy LOVES the work--he lives, eats and breathes this sort of scandal. Along the way, there are a few juicy stories you see in the film--including a funny one with Allen Jenkins as a mobster and a distraught pregnant lady who is at her wits end.
The film works well because of its style and fast-paced script. A few very choice scenes also spice things up. The best is Tracy as he's giving a VERY vivid account of what it's like to be electrocuted--as Jenkins recoils in horror. My favorite was the cop at the end after he caught a shooter--seeing him slap the guy around was very funny (even if it does violate the crook's Constitutional rights). Plus, I saw one scene where Ned Sparks actually looked like he was about to smile! All in all, an incredibly breezy and enjoyable little film.
By the way, although the ending and overall message is very different, another great film about muckraking journalism is "Five Star Final" (1931) and it sure appears as if Warner Brothers was strongly inspired by this previous film to make "Blessed Event".