28 March 2006 | rsoonsa
Pleasing Melodrama In Spite Of Its Restricted Budget.
Western film player Johnny Mack Brown is featured here in a different type of role for him - - as a fireman, Charley, whom we initially see, along with his firefighting pal Fishey (George Cooper), while they assist in rescuing (from atop a telephone pole) a stranded cat that belongs to an attractive blonde, Patricia (Noel Francis), following which event the two men begin double dating with her and her roommate Gertie (Marjorie Beebe), a very agreeable state of affairs to the latter and Fishey but less than satisfactory for Charley and Patricia whose relationship is not off to a promising beginning. Their romantic troubles are compounded when, ignoring co-worker Gertie's warnings, Patricia finds herself fending off advances from their employer, Mr. Garson (Richard Tucker) who has asked her to his home one evening for some after office hours but ostensibly job-related duties, bringing a jealous reaction from her new beau who is distrustful of the unusual assignment to an extent that he breaks into Garson's house and attacks him when he sees the older man embracing his own fiancée, as Charley believes that the woman is instead Patricia. This low budgeted melodrama is an agreeable mixture of romance, comedy, and adventure with a great deal of its visual energy coming from its climax, wherein all of the principals are involved with a major structural fire, depicted very imaginatively, with able deployment of extras, and minimal stock footage of actual holocausts. The film's most effective scenes are those during which Patricia and Gertie naturalistically converse, with Francis earning acting honours for her nicely developed portrayal of strong-willed yet vulnerable Patricia, benefiting from well-written dialogue. Although his indoor camera technique is somewhat patchy, cinematographer Archie Stout provides some memorable street action of firemen from a large city at work, including human rescue techniques commonly in use at the time of filming.