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  • This black and white classic from the 30's, can only be described as touching. It has the flavor of "It's A Wonderful Life" and the tempo of slapstick humor from days gone by. When a hustler finds love, to what extent is he willing to give up, or to what extent is he willing to go, to hang on to the woman he loves. The hustler's life becomes a family affair. While pool was seen as a gentlemen's sport during these times, the hustler's lifestyle was still considered shady by many. This was nothing short of fun and sweet. It is an hour-long movie that you can appreciate. On a side note, the pool playing, although brief, was completely artistic and hilarious.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Pool shark James Dunn is a neer-do-well who can't seem to make an honest living at doing anything other than rackin' em up and putting the eight ball in the left corner pocket. He's devoted to his girlfriend Dorothy Wilson but when she introduces him to her parents (John Wray and Beaulah Bondi) he is exposed by dad for being the wastrel that he is. Dunn is determined to make good in order to win their approval and get down the aisle with her, but every one of his efforts at success fails. Even when he goes into the athletics department of a department store, he fails to land a job, even by pretending to be a salesman and selling a pool table along the way. Her parents try to pair her with a more "honorable" fellow (Allen Vincent), but she manages to sneak out to see him on the side.

    This is an enjoyable comedy/drama with fine performances and good dialog. Bondi plays one of her "grasping" mothers who gets things her way by always pretending to be sick, especially when Wilson tries to avoid going out with Vincent. It is a story typical of programmers of its time, but well made and briskly moving. An enjoyable slice of life subplot involves the boarding house Dunn lives in (run by Louise Fazenda) and the issues with the bell paging system Dunn puts in to alert the tenants to their phone calls. Overall, a good film that will leave a smile on your face.
  • Bad Boy (1935)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    A pool shark (James Dunn) wants to marry the love of his life (Dorothy Wilson) but her parents refuse because they believe he's nothing but a hood. To prove them wrong, the man goes out looking for a legit job but when he can't find one he starts to believe that he has nothing to live for. I guess you could call this an early version of It's a Wonderful Life as it deals with many of the same story lines. This film certainly isn't in the same league as that Capra classic but this is a worthy little effort for a 56-minute movie. This was only my second time seeing Dunn but he manages to pull off a pretty good and charming performance and Wilson is just as good. The ending is way too abrupt and out of nowhere but this is a worthy viewing.
  • James Dunn, the breezy actor with a sensitive core shot to fame in Vina Delmar's "Bad Girl", the poignant tale of two youngsters trying to make a go of marriage and life in the teeming tenements of New York - he was a sensation. Five years later he was back as a "bad boy" in another of Delmar's heart tugging but gritty stories. Vina and Jimmy were a perfect combination. The film starts on a high as Eddie Nolan (Dunn) gives a terrific display of billiard prowess with the quips coming thick and fast - "when girls fall for me they break their ankles"!! Unfortunately his confidence takes a dive quickly - he loves Sally (was there ever a sweeter actress than Dorothy Wilson) but she is too ashamed to introduce him to her parents (Beulah Bondi, John Wray) because of his jobless situation. When a job does arrive and he is introduced to them, it's only to find that her father is his old pool room nemesis and her mother is not above taking "bad turns" to get her own way.

    Obviously not as stylish or good a movie as the original "Bad Girl", James Dunn is always a treat to watch, you can laugh at his lightheartedness but within minutes your heart can be torn because of his emotion and for once the girl is a real booster, she has so much belief in him when a lot of the time he doesn't!! There 's only one down side - it would have been nice to hear Dunn sing "As I Live and Breathe" at least once all the way through - several times during the movie he starts it off in his beautiful tenor voice then finishes off humming!! At the last moment he begs to be put on a local amateur hour but after a few lines he suffers from mike fright and is gonged!!

    A very nice movie that I remember from my younger days and it didn't disappoint!!
  • 1935's "Bad Boy" qualifies as a long forgotten quickie programmer, not even seen on the Fox Movie Channel (AMC last aired it in the 90s). At 56 minutes, it shows evidence of being rushed through editing, but fortunately succeeds in its own modest way of providing entertainment for undiscriminating audiences. James Dunn, future Oscar winner for "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," stars as expert pool shark Eddie Nolan, whose incredible prowess with a pool cue appears to be genuine, no fakery before the camera's discerning eye, much to the chagrin of his prize pigeon (John Wray), who only plays for relaxation. Eddie's sweetheart is Sally Larkin (Dorothy Wilson), anxious to have him meet her folks, with Beulah Bondi typecast as the mother, John Wray's frustrated pigeon the surprised father, forbidding his daughter from seeing that 'hoodlum' ever again. Instead of goodbyes the two exchange wedding vows, keeping their marriage a secret from her disapproving parents, forcing Eddie to make a go of respectability for the sake of his loving bride. Unable to gain employment as either a salesman or a radio singer, he decides it best to abandon pretense and leave Sally to wed the prominent, well to do Bob Carey (Allen Vincent), a desperate phone call saving his marriage and turning his life around for the better. Not the swiftest hour long feature, yet full of charming moments that make such little films a viewing pleasure. One sequence at the 32 minute mark sees Eddie fixing the buzzer system in his apartment building, succeeding only too well in having a staircase full of angry tenants, among them unbilled saxophone player John Carradine, soon to become a full time player at 20th Century-Fox, only four months away from character stardom in John Ford's "The Prisoner of Shark Island," going from pool sharks to real sharks!