30 November 2013 | kevinolzak
Two sons of fishes
1935's "The Best Man Wins" is an excellent example of a streamlined Columbia 'B' that transcends its origins, providing unsuspecting audiences with a real gem. Edmund Lowe as Toby and Jack Holt as Nick are a team of diving buddies who split up when Nick becomes a rookie cop working on the waterfront. Nick's last dive finds him caught beneath the waves, Toby going down to free him, losing his left arm in the process. Afterwards, with a fiancée to support and unable to find work as a diver, Toby winds up working for the shady Doc Boehm (Bela Lugosi), whose smuggling work has gone undetected because he disguises the pearls as fish food. Edmund Lowe enjoys one of his finest roles, while stolid yet likable Jack Holt is his usual self (he'd already worked with Boris Karloff in 1932's "Behind the Mask"). As the girl in between, Cleveland's Florence Rice (daughter of sportscaster Grantland Rice) was making just her second film, retiring by 1943. A rare non horror role for Bela Lugosi, a studious, mild-mannered villain in beard and moustache, immaculately dressed and constantly smoking a pipe. His interest in fish, being a fellow Pisces and big believer in astrology, easily convinces Toby to join him as a silent partner in crime (Toby refers to them both as "two sons of fishes!"). Interestingly, Bela uses the expression "ya" in place of yes, to explain his slightly different accent here; otherwise, it's a part that hardly taxes his abilities. This was his fourth and last film opposite Lowe, following 1931's "Women of All Nations," 1932's "Chandu the Magician," and 1934's "Gift of Gab."