6 September 2016 | MartinHafer
Not a bad little character study.
In this unusual Pre-Code film, Slag Bailey (George Bancroft) and Puff (Wynne Gibson) aren't exactly high class folks. Slag is a boxer and Puff is a lounge singer. As for Slag, his career in the boxing ring falls apart when he is overconfident and beaten by a young guy (John Wayne in one of his earliest roles). At about the same time, Slag's beloved manager (James Gleason) is killed...and only a short time later, the manager's son shows up! Instead of sending the boy to an orphanage or giving him to the police, he and Puff decide to pretend to be husband and wife and raise the boy. Puff agrees to do this for a year...which stretches into several years...which stretches to getting the boy into college.
There's not a lot of plot other than that. This is NOT a bad thing, as instead it's an excellent character study about two folks who sacrifice themselves and do good by the boy. Good acting and an interesting script make this an odd but entertaining flick.
So how exactly does this fit Pre-Code sensibilities? Well, no one knows it but Puff and Slag live as husband and wife and only get around to marrying after more than a decade of cohabitation! This is something you NEVER could have seen in the post 1934 Post-Code films...no way!