27 October 2014 | mukava991
a good look at Gwili Andre
Gwili Andre looked like a cross between Joan Crawford and Myrna Loy with hints of Garbo and Dietrich, but with none of their magnetism or acting ability. All four of those superstars evolved over several years before they achieved the look and manner by which we know them today. Andre, one of the more notable Hollywood career failures of the early talkie era, was just a hastily packaged commodity meant to resemble others, but with no substance. Perhaps if she had been given more chances she might have developed into a competent performer, but instead she faded out almost as quickly as she came in, dying in obscurity in 1959.
Andre's presence is the major object of interest in this routine crime drama. Otherwise, there is Gregory Ratoff in one of his rare incarnations as a cold-blooded villain—specifically, a dastardly Russian émigré who kidnaps flower girl Andre off the streets of Paris and hypnotizes her into believing she is the missing Grand Duchess Anastasia in order to convince exiled Russian nobility that she is the real deal and walk off with the loot from her inheritance as the only surviving member of the Tsar's immediate family. Ratoff has a deeply menacing, inhuman quality that reminds one of Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" or "White Zombie," particularly in conjunction with his domination of entranced and attractive young females.
The versatile Frank Morgan plays one of the police of the title and chain smokes his way through the film.
Near the end there is a well-staged auto crash which reminds us how far automobile construction has come since the days of steel chassis and brittle glass windows.