17 October 2004 | Doylenf
Vivid social drama from Warner Bros...fine performances...
FRANKIE DARRO and EDWIN PHILLIPS play depression-era buddies with great chemistry and natural vigor and charm. They are the key ingredients in keeping the story firmly in the realm of believability throughout. An intriguing slice of life for depression weary audiences--one has to wonder what the initial effect was upon release in 1933.
Whatever, it all plays out extremely well except for what appears to be a tacked on ending that gives a positive spin to the tale.
Grant Mitchell does fine work as Darro's depressed out-of-work father who shows his love and respect for his son when Darro sells his jalopy (for a mere $22!!) to help out the family. Interesting to note Ward Bond in an unsavory role as a railroad official who is brutally punished after taking advantage of a stowaway girl.
All of the vivid railroad scenes have been expertly photographed and the incident involving the unfortunate Phillips and his leg accident is powerfully depicted. William Wellman's direction keeps things moving swiftly and satisfactorily for a tense and gripping little social drama told in little more than an hour.
Highly recommended, especially because it's a product of its time and reveals all of the societal ills rampant in the early '30s.