17 September 2007 | MartinHafer
Fun but quite shocking--even by today's standards!
The first five minutes of this film will quickly convince you that this is definitely a "Pre-Code" movie--a film so named because it was made just before the Hays Production Code was fully enforced--putting a stop to excessive violence, sexuality and "adult themes". Just a year later, a film as amazingly violent as this one never would have been allowed. That's because this portion of the movie features a bank robbery scene that is at least as violent as the ones in BONNIE AND CLYDE--which was made over three decades later. Blood is flying, customers are being splattered and hundreds of bullets fly. This is not the only extremely violent moment in the film, as later you see a man fall into a burning building and it's very shocking indeed.
The film is not really about bank robberies, though, but is about the rough and dangerous world of the movie stuntman. In the 1920s, some Hollywood producers were pretty cavalier about risking the lives of their stunt men, though how unnecessarily lives are tossed away in this film seems silly--but also very entertaining.
The main character in this film is William Boyd (later known as "Hopalong Cassidy") and once he marries, his new bride is convinced he'll be killed. Judging by the movie so far, this isn't surprising! I could tell you more about the plot but don't want to ruin it. The film is very exciting to watch and the violence is shocking but also intriguing because it was so extreme. A good film but certainly not an intellectual or deep film.
PS--Look carefully at the beginning and you'll see a White guy in black face--something that's shocking when seen today.