6 March 2016 | AlsExGal
You can practically see the dividing line between the precode and code eras in this film
It's a modest movie. Not a big deal. But it's got some things in it I like. First, it stars Robert Montgomery, and Maureen O'Sullivan, which though not a guarantee of a good movie, sure is a sign of promise. And in this case it pays off. Montgomery plays a racketeer who has to lam it to the countryside to wait for some heat to die down. The odd thing is, I could not really figure out what his "racket" was. There he is injured and stays with a family to recover, meeting and chumming it with the daughter. That's where the dividing line is. In the first part you are in precode gangster land. Then Montgomery wakes up in a four poster bed with a gingham bedspread - he has arrived in production code land. The plot's flimsy, for sure, on both sides of the line, but it's there to provide the opportunity for Montgomery and O'Sullivan to meet and chatter. And that's the main attraction. The banter between the simple, ingenuous, yet clear-headed and no-nonsense country lass, and the sophisticated, jaded, out-of-his-element city feller, as they get to know each other, like each other, and fall in love. The style of their exchanges has an informal, conversational feel, as if they were talking, not reciting lines.
Of course, the love story is accompanied by his character reformation into a good person, or one that looks to be in the future. But it's handled discretely, and if you ignore it, it doesn't spoil things. The supporting cast is a bunch of pros, so they know how not to step on things: Elizabeth Patterson and Whitford Kane as the ma and pa, Mickey Rooney-for once not insufferably irritating playing an insufferably irritating son, and Edward Arnold as the dogged cop. One other thing I like about the movie is that it achieves portraying a lively, energetic, spontaneous family scene without being noisy, discordant, and irritating. Something a lot of movies attempt, but fail miserably at doing.