9 December 2019 | boblipton
A Movie Revised For the Production Code
George Murphy is a prizefighter. Nancy Carroll is a secretary, working for Donald Cook. Murphy and Miss Carroll are in love, so they get married. Murphy, however, is insanely jealous of Miss Carroll, leading to a tragic conclusion.
It's one of those early movies under the Production Code which clearly have been altered, so that the ending is turned into mush. Until then, however, it's an interesting if improbable story, well directed by Roy Williams Neill, with the sort of interesting cast that Columbia would occasionally put together for their few A pictures, mostly interesting for the uncredited talent, including the Nicholas Brothers, Lucille Ball, Max Asher, and Phil Dunham: talent so new they don't rate a screen credit, or so forgotten they're no more than background fillers. Even the top talent shows the constant turmoil in Hollywood, with Murphy beginning a career, and Miss Carroll, still lovely and talented, past her best days.
As such it is an unremarkable if watchable effort. However, visually there's something interesting going on. Although most of the camerawork is highly competent under the direction of cinematographer John Stumar, there are stirring of what would become film noir standards, with dramatic shadows shown on walls, and the leads shot with prison bars or wire mesh breaking up their images into shattered bits. Film Noir hadn't begun in 1934; even its antecedents in French Poetic Realism had not yet reached its flowering under the direction of artists like Marcel Carné and Julien Duvivier. It would be strands like these visual touches that would become part of Noir's foundation, only not yet.