6 February 2010 | AlsExGal
Thank goodness for DVRs
If you watch this only once it will strike you as a 7/10 because, unless you have the attention of a speed reader, much will escape you. After a second viewing and filling in all of the gaps, you'll likely see it as 8/10. This is a fast paced crime drama in which Bette Davis plays Arlene Bradford, the wicked stepdaughter of a wealthy man, and Margaret Lindsay plays the good daughter, Val. Everett Bradford is the father of Val, but he was once married to Arlene's mother who was apparently a wild one who ran out on him. Arlene is made in her mother's image - something her stepfather won't let her forget. Bette Davis gives a very lively performance here as a spoiled and easily bored socialite who, in spite of the family drama, has a good relationship with stepsister Val.
The whole movie centers on a complex securities smuggling racket that involves Arlene using her stepfather's business as a means of laundering the stolen securities - without his knowledge of course. When Arlene turns up dead, there are a multitude of suspects including the girl's own stepfather.
Bette Davis gives an energetic performance that presages the great roles to come, in spite of the fact that she is only in the first half of the film. Hugh Herbert plays the bumbling newspaper photographer who actually stumbles across a key clue. Warner contract player Robert Barrat plays the Bradford family butler, Thorne, who seems way too interested in Arlene's comings and goings.
I highly recommend this one, but only if you have the time to sit through it twice.