3 July 2000 | Ron Oliver
Lee Tracy Excellent In MGM Debut
Flash! Urgent! CLEAR ALL WIRES! Buckley Joyce Thomas (Lee Tracy), ace reporter of the Chicago Globe, after returning from captivity in the Moroccan desert, now lands up to his ears in danger in Soviet Moscow. Hoping to interview New Russian citizens - and perhaps be seen hobnobbing with Stalin - he finds himself in intense trouble with dames (Benita Hume & Una Merkel) and suspected by the Secret Police of attempted murder! Will this be Buckley Joyce Thomas' last dispatch?
This is an enjoyable, fast-moving, if somewhat corny film, with dialogue & situations that let you know it was definitely produced pre-Production Code. It is interesting to see Hollywood's take on Red Russia only 15 years after the Revolution.
Lee Tracy, having recently become a star at Warner Brothers, began his short stint at MGM with this film. He would appear in 4 MGM films in 1933, and was well on his way to becoming the Studio's answer to Cagney, when he suffered a spectacular fall from grace the following year & was immediately fired from MGM. It is a shame he is almost forgotten today, as he was an exciting actor to watch: pushing the limit, rough edged, perfectly cast as nosy reporters, shyster lawyers or shady talent agents.
The other members of the cast all do a fine job. Special mention should be made of James Gleason as Tracy's faithful factotum, and Ari Kutai as a Russian gofer. Movie mavens will spot Mischa Auer as a Moroccan prince & Akim Tamiroff as a sleazy Moscow hotel manager, both uncredited.