22 October 2011 | csteidler
Energetic cast and construction site hold interest
Roy Mason is the foreman, Frankie Darro a water boy, and Barbara Worth the boss's daughter. Their company is building a dam that will help bring water to hundreds of farmers. But wait! Edwin Maxwell, crooked banker, stands to gain control of all of that land if the project isn't completed on time. His henchman will stop at nothing, not even murder, to derail the project.
Simple plot, straightforward script—including your standard variations such as the romance between Worth and Mason, the death of Darro's father in a deliberately-started rockslide, the comic antics of Syd Saylor (who needs to be told, for example, that a stick of dynamite tossed to him will not explode if he drops it).
There's plenty to enjoy, however, including many head-shaking moments of one sort or another—such as lovely Barbara Worth arriving at the dirty, dusty, noisy construction site and stepping out of her big shiny automobile in a snazzy white outfit so perfectly dazzling you know it would be ruined in about ten seconds. Or watching construction crews digging and blasting on the side of a mountain wearing no hard hats, no safety glasses, no hearing protection, no nothing! OSHA was not around yet, obviously. Also a lot of fun is the help wanted sign posted by our heroes when they decide to soldier on with the project: "Mounted guards will patrol entire workings," it announces, "1000 unskilled men wanted at once."
Indeed, if I were prone to political-economic analyses of B movies from the 1930s, I might want to make a case that this picture takes a pretty strong pro-business stance: We have a kind-hearted owner refusing to carry on the project until the "accidents" can be stopped because it's too dangerous for his men; we have loyal workers who just want to work hard to feed their families; and we have some baddies who are sabotaging the project and trying to scare the workers into quitting—probably a gang of Bolshies or something as bad. –Okay, I know that On the Waterfront it ain't
.but I certainly can't pass up a chance to mention Frankie Darro and Marlon Brando in the same sentence.
The story moves briskly and builds nicely to an exciting climax involving a huge brawl and some level of individual victory for each of our heroes. Overall, it's a pretty decent B picture that is perhaps short on realism but at least packs in plenty of energy.