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  • Warning: Spoilers
    After getting two Oscars in a row, Big City must have been a let down for Luise Rainer. This must have been Louis B. Mayer's way of "punishing" a recalcitrant star. Probably the reason Ms. Rainer left Hollywood rather abruptly.

    Big City is an average programmer with the distinction of having Frank Borzage direct it, a man who specialized in bittersweet romances. Rainer is the wife of Spencer Tracy a cab driver. The drivers for his company are in a taxi war with another company that employs the strong arm goon squad of William Demarest. This is one of the few times that Bill Demarest ever played a serious villain. What Tracy's bunch doesn't know is that Demarest has a mole with Tracy's company.

    When Victor Varconi who is Luise Rainer's brother attempts to infiltrate, he's killed by a bomb and it's made to look like Rainer and he cooked up a plot that Varconi got caught up in. Since she's six weeks shy of being a citizen, the politicians get the brilliant idea of making the whole thing go away by having her deported. So Tracy and the rest of his crew hide her out. Rainer is also very much pregnant.

    In the climax of the film which involves a number of former boxing champions headed by Jack Dempsey joining with Tracy's drivers to best the Demarest bunch every Hollywood cliché you can think of is thrown into the film. Let's just say that several things personal and political all get resolved in one finale.

    Tracy is fine as the working class hero of the group. Tracy was never bad in anything at least anything he did after he signed with MGM, I can't speak for his earlier work with Fox, I haven't seen most of it. Rainer won her Oscar for The Great Ziegfeld with a telephone scene and of course they give her another one. Her she's talking to the mayor, played by Charley Grapewin, telling him that she will give herself up to be deported to prevent all the cabdrivers who work with her husband from going to jail for obstruction of justice.

    I get the feeling that Big City may have been made to publicize Jack Dempsey's new restaurant. After Dempsey quit fighting in the early Thirties, he got some backers and opened up a restaurant located at Broadway and West 50th Street. When I was growing up in the Fifties by that time it was a premier Broadway night spot and I did eat there with my family on one occasion.

    Maybe they should have gotten an actor who was a little more like Fiorello La Guardia than Charley Grapewin. But seeing all the old champions of yesteryear is nice even today.

    Tracy was between Oscars with Captains Courageous behind him and Boys Town in front of him. He must have wondered what he was doing in a routine programmer as well. But Tracy was nothing if not professional and he's just fine.

    Big City is not a bad film, it's really good nostalgia. But it is sure beneath the talents of its leads.
  • dbdumonteil31 August 2009
    The follow-up to "Mannequin" and coming just before the sublime "Three comrades" melodrama ,"Big city" has a bizarre cast and credits showing cartoons Winnie Winkle style .But it's not a comedy.Once again ,it's a drama showing the fight of two lovers against a hostile world.Both Spencer Tracy and Luise Raiser(her eyes are so beautiful) give outstanding performances .Once again,Borzage teaches us real love,true love,pure love ,this love which leads you to sacrifice everything (Anna calling the Police)so the others can go on.He shows us men and women all standing together against the High and the Mighty.Recalling sometimes his great silent work "street angel" (1927)when Tracy visits his wife on the boat about to take her away from him.The final rumble may seem too long ,but after so much pain,it's a sweet relief.Humor is also present in the scene of the bottle of milk.Monsieur Borzage,you were a great man.
  • Luise Rainer and Spencer Tracy are an affectionate couple in "Big City," a small film from MGM, which is surprising, since it has two big stars in it. The happy world of Joe and Anna is torn apart when her brother is killed as a result of a war between the independent cabbies in New York and a large cab company. Anna is blamed and plans are made to deport her.

    Rainer and Tracy make a sweet couple; one really believes they're in love. Tracy is wonderful. Rainer is beautiful with soulful eyes, and of course, she gets another telephone call as in "Hello, Flo" in "The Great Ziegfeld." Rainer takes a lot of heat for winning two Oscars in a row and basically disappearing soon after, as if this was her fault. She was, and still is, a strong-willed woman who came up against Louis B. End of story. He's long dead and she's still alive as of this writing, at the age of 96, and made a film in 2003. So take that, Louis.

    This film was made at a time when you weren't supposed to see a woman's pregnancy, and though Anna is pregnant in the story, in fact, far enough along to be ready to give birth, from the look of her, the baby should have weighed half an ounce.

    The end of the film is a free-for-all featuring some of the great sports figures of the day, listed in the cast, including Jim Thorpe, Maxie Rosenbloom, and Jack Dempsey. Look for Ruth Hussey in a small part as the mayor's secretary.
  • ... declares Chevy Chase in a fake commercial in the first season of Saturday Night Live about some strange product that could be one of several things that nobody can identify. That sentiment applies to this film too. With Spencer Tracy and Luise Ranier in the lead as a cab driver husband and his foreign born and raised wife and the MGM trademark you'd be expecting a melodrama, but when it comes to director Frank Borzage, expect the unexpected.

    The overall theme has to do with the war between a large cab company - Comet Cab - and the independent cab drivers in New York City. It's part tragedy in the willingness of city officials to deport an innocent alien girl (Ranier as Anna) without any real due process in order to avoid a controversy, part drama in the war between the cabbies and the conspiracy to hide Anna from the cops until six weeks expires and she becomes an American citizen, and part screwball comedy with a funny but rather pointless street brawl between all of the cabbies with some popular sports figures of the day (Jack Dempsey, Jim Thorpe, Bull Montana, Jack Jeffries and more) thrown into the fight for good measure as well as the chief of police, the district attorney and the mayor getting into the act. Actually the part about hiding Anna is partially played for laughs too, with the joke being on the hapless police always running in circles.

    Then there's the bad guy, the muscle for Comet Cab Company who is willing to murder to keep his protection racket rolling who is played by - William Demarest??? Usually the comic relief or a harmless yet crusty fellow, you just know Borzage is playing the drama part of this tongue in cheek with this particular piece of casting. When Uncle Charlie of "My Three Sons" says "I'll rub you out if you talk" it's just hard to be too terribly afraid. All we need is baddie Barton McLane as a hairdresser to make the upside down casting and strange plot roadmap of this film complete.

    One of the things Borzage did best was depict camaraderie and heroism, and here you see that in the independent cabbies and their wives who are willing to risk jail to keep Anna hidden from the police, and in Anna when she realizes that her presence among them is causing so much hardship for them.

    Don't think I don't like this one - I do. Just sit back and enjoy whatever course of events you are presented and don't try to pigeon hole it or analyze it too much. From the first frame with cabbie Joe Benton attempting to "pick up" his own wife, to the end credits with the normally dignified MGM insignia that instead sports a hand-drawn lion's backside aimed at the audience, I've never seen anything quite like this from the movie factory era of MGM.
  • After watching Big City a, TCM, television version of the movie, I felt cheated that I had not seen Luise Rainer before. She was magnificent, sweet, and believable. Because of my research on this 1930s two-time, back-to-back Oscar winner, I can't wait to see the other seven films in which she acted. She won an Academy Award in 1937 & 1938. She left acting at the peak of her career, and that is very sad. This woman had something "different" about her. Though she is now 102 years old and lives in England, she has a new American fan. Spencer Tracy was the male lead, and he was his usual incredible self, but Luise Rainer, in my opinion, upstaged the great Tracy!
  • kyle_furr9 February 2004
    A very funny film that stars Luise Rainer and Spencer Tracy as a taxi cab driver and his wife. The plot is basically two cab companies fighting over which one gets the territory or something like that. The two main stars are great and Luise Rainer has top billing over Tracy. I've read a lot of negative reviews but i think it's very funny.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, now I've seen everything! Here's a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie in which that arch-conservative studio has tackled the socially conscious platform that often animated Warner Brothers and occasionally 20th Century Fox. But naturally, being Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer, the studio has attempted – and even brilliantly succeeded – to go ten or twelve steps better that its rivals with a name cast that is at least three or four times as large, sets that would dwarf the Empire State Building and rousing action sequences that make Warner Brothers look like pikers. And leading the acting charge here is – would you believe? – teary- eyed Luise Rainer and Boys Town's Spencer Tracy? But they are both great! In fact, all the players in the vast cast deliver well and even many of the minor actors have some great moments in front of the camera. Full marks to director Frank Borzage, writers Dore Schary, Hugo Butler and Norman Krasna, and especially to art director Stan Rogers and set decorator Edwin B. Willis. The unnamed second unit director also deserves a pat on the back – but maybe there was no second unit. Maybe Borzage directed the lot? Full marks also to Joseph Ruttenberg for his superb camera-work. Available on a superb Warner Brothers DVD.
  • Big City (1937)

    *** (out of 4)

    Incredibly off the wall and insane drama from MGM has an independent taxi service battling with a union led taxi service. When the union side has their placed bombed one of the indie guys (Spencer Tracy) has his wife (Luise Rainer) suspected and shipped out of the country. This film is all over the map that you could put it in any genre including a romantic comedy, a screwball comedy and an action film. Tracy and Rainer deliver very good performances and their chemistry together is right on the mark. They make for a very romantic couple and Tracy's big crying scene is incredibly touching. It's also great seeing NYC back in the day plus there's a scene inside Jack Dempsey's restaurant, which leads to a street fight with Dempsey himself plus other famous athletes including Jim Thorpe, Man Mountain Dean and various others.
  • sol-kay12 January 2006
    (There are Spoilers) Strange movie featuring two double Acadamy Award winner, for best actor & actress, as it's top stars.

    New York cabbie John Benton, Spencer Tracy,is having such a wild and crazy time with his Russian born wife Anna, Luise Rainer, that at first you don't realize that the movie "Big City" is actually a crime drama not a light screwball 1930's type comedy.Later we see that there's a taxi war going on between the independent cab drivers, which Joe is a member of, and the Comet Taxi company that turns deadly. Anna's brother Paul, Victor Varccni, goes to work for Comet and at a birthday party she gives his friend Buddy, John Arledge,a raincoat to leave at the Comet Taxi garage for him. Not knowing that Beecher, William Demarest, who's the head of security for Comet is planing to start a war between the two rival taxi groups, the independent and Comet in order to justify his job, by having the garage blown up that evening. What happens is that after Buddy leaves the package with the raincoat Paul shows up to pick up his cab and the bomb goes off and Paul's killed by the night watchman, Paul Fix, who's also working for the sleazy Beecher. With Buddy now in hot water for leaving the package, that is mistakenly described as a bomb, Anna is the prime suspect in her brothers murder and the independent cab drivers, like her husband Joe, are seen as accomplices in the crime since they were at odds, or at war, with the Comet Taxi Company.

    At Paul's funeral Anna, who's there in black grieving for him, is on the verge of getting arrested and deported back to Russia, or the Soviet Union, for "her part" in Paul's murder and the bombing of the taxi garage. The independent cabbies outraged at this injustce keep the police and immigration agents at bay as Anna is slipped out of the church and into hiding.

    In what seems like a shell, or Three Card Monte, game Joe and his cabbie friends keep the police and immigration agents away from Anna as almost all the independent, some 40 of them, divers are held as accessories to her escaping from the arms of the law. As all this is going on Anna, who's very pregnant, now sick and tired off all the trouble she's caused by being on the lamb decides to give herself up for a crime, the bombing of the Comet garage and the murder of her brother Paul, that she had nothing to do with. later Buddy, Anna and Paul's friend, decides to take out insurance by leaving a letter to the District Attorney, implicating Beecher for the bombing if Beecher tries to have him knocked off in order to keep his mouth shut for good.

    Joe together with fellow cabbie Mike, Eddie Quillian,getting the letter implicating Beecher and his hoods for Paul's death rushes to a boxing event that the mayor, Charley Grapewin, is attending to get him to stop the ship from leaving New York Harbor, for the Soviet Union, with Anna on it.

    Wild ending with the mayor and a couple of car load of professional boxers including Jack Dempsey James J. Jeffres Man Mountain Dean, and even Olympic legend Jim Thorpe, wading into a battle with the Comet Taxi drivers. The drivers together with Beecher and his hoods, came to the docks to have it out with Joe & Co. as the mayor and his DA and top aids watch and enjoy the action with the cops, called to put an end to all this ruckus, stuck in heavy midtown traffic. In the middle of all this action poor Anna is in an ambulance giving birth, surprise it's a boy, and the baby is later christened with every boy's name ,from A to Z, in the book to make sure that no one's left out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm not sure what genius came up with this weird little film or why anyone would bother making it let alone cast two superstars in the leads. This was Spencer Tracy's 34th film and Luise Rainer was a two-time Oscar winner. As incomprehensible as this film is, had it not been for them it would be unwatchable. So let's see if this makes sense: to prevent a war between rival cab companies the NY DA wants to deport the foreign-born wife (Rainer) of one of the cabbies (Tracy). To top it all off he wants to indict her of murder in the death of her own brother in an explosion. But no one mentions the fact that he was gunned down. She goes into hiding and to find her the cops go wherever they please without warrants and arrest whomever they please, again with no warrants. The main villain, played by William Demarest, is the gangster boss of one of the cab companies yet he orders the DA around and generally acts as if he ran the show. The DA and the mayor stand around like schoolchildren while this mobster dresses them down. Oh yes, lest I forget, Rainer has been pregnant this whole time even though she looks her usual slim self.

    Now come on, how dumb did they think the public was? I guess if this was a comedy this stuff might pass. But it's not, the actors are playing it straight, really. There are no gags, at least none intended, apart from some semblance of slapstick at the end when a bevy of famous athletes hand it to the mobster's cabbies. In the main this is a love story. Here the film actually succeeds. The two leads are very good. The opening sequences when we're introduced to them are really endearing and Rainer uses her large eyes and expressive face to maximum impact. Tracy is better than usual here and comes across as sensitive and loving. Later on he reverts to type, becoming overbearing and annoying when he argues with Rainer about baby names and wakes up the entire household with his inconsiderate shouting.

    So this one is really odd, impossible to classify. Some very good scenes, some very bad ones, and Ruth Hussey's debut as well as a good look at several famous athletes from the 30s. As bad as it might be I'll probably watch this one again for the good ones and skip the bad ones.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I looked over the other reviews for BIG CITY I wondered if I'd seen the same ultra-schmaltzy mess that everyone else saw. Surely this WAS a very bad movie--despite having the likes of Spencer Tracy in the lead and a fun (but ludicrous) fight at the end of the film. I can't blame Tracy too much. After all, every famous actor of the era had at least ONE stinker during their careers (such as Clark Gable in PARNELL, Humphrey Bogart in SWING YOUR LADY and CARY GRANT in ONCE UPON A TIME).

    The film begins with a series of scenes with Tracy and his wife (played by Luise Rainer) that were frankly a bit heavy on the sentiment and very sticky. Sure, we get that they are in love, but their banter is quite the gooey mess and I could feel my blood sugar on the rise. Unfortunately, Ms. Rainer must have received coaching from the director to stare a lot--with a doe-like "caught in the headlights" look. In fact, she was almost like a combination of Bambi, a Precious Moments figurine and a saint throughout the film--and it was a truly one-dimensional and silly performance. As for Tracy, despite being in the lead, really didn't have a lot to do in this ensemble cast film but go through the paces and hope this film didn't derail his career.

    The plot involves an evil William Demarest and his gang of thugs trying to muscle independent cabbies out of the business in New York. Later the wicked guy hits on the idea of blowing up one of their offices and blaming it on the independents. Despite having no real evidence to prove it, the District Attorney decides that the best way to wrap up the case is to deport Rainer(?!)--despite this making absolutely no sense. After all, why would she give her brother a bomb and send him into this business to be killed?!

    Well, the plucky cabbies decide the best thing to do is to hide Rainer--after all, if they can't find her, they can't deport her. However, when the D.A. eventually responds by jailing ALL the independent cabbies (I'm sure that would be quite legal--in Nazi Germany!), she turns herself in and it looks like she's being sent back to the home country--though it's hard to tell where this was. She attended an Orthodox church (probably Russian), but the German actress sounded like she had a French accent throughout the film.

    In the meantime, it turns out one of the independents is a stool pigeon and was helping the evil Demarest. When the other cabbies find out, they rush with this stoolie to find the mayor--who just happens to be at Jack Dempsey's restaurant along with a who's who of retired athletes (more about who they were later). When the good-hearted boxers, wrestlers, Olympians and football players find out what's been happening, they all rush to the boat AND have a huge fist fight with the Demarest's evil cabbies--and Rainer is rushed into an ambulance because the writers picked this exact moment for her to have a baby (though she NEVER appeared pregnant once during the film). In a really ridiculous scene towards the end, a huge group of evil cabbies descend on the nice cabbies and begins beating them--and the athletes decide to put a stop to it. Eventually, even the D.A. and his assistant get involved in the fight and beat up Demarest and his henchman! At this same time, the mayor just stands there and pretends to see nothing. To quote Admiral Farragut, "Damn the Constitution--full speed ahead!!" (well, perhaps that's not exactly how the quote went). And, exactly when the last bad guy is beaten up, Tracy peeks in the ambulance and announces that Rainer JUST had the baby!!!

    The bottom line is that Rainer was terrible and the script a joke. I don't totally blame her--after all, she was on contract and the director must have pushed her for this sort of performance. I did some reading and found out that this and the ridiculous over-use of clichés and ridiculous plot points is due to MGM experimenting with chimps as writers with this film (I wouldn't lie about this--trust me). For chimps, this film is pretty good. However, for any self-respecting human, this film is amateurish and dumb!!

    The only reason, perhaps, to watch this film is to see the cast of athletes. While I didn't know all of them, several super-famous ones I did recognize--including heavyweight champion boxers Jack Dempsey and James Jeffries (about whom the play and film "The Great White Hope" was written) as well as Olympian/football star Jim Thorpe. This was interesting and a bit of a surprise. While still not worth wading through the treacle for this, it was interesting.
  • Fans of Spencer Tracy, Luise Rainer, and director Frank Borzage should enjoy this routine cab-driver/gangster melodrama. The first five minutes are a well-done perceptive trick on the viewer, but it's downhill from there. The acting and directing are above average, but the script is saccharine and almost embarrassing. The climax involves the gimmick of famous prize fighters appearing in a brawl, and there's an attempt to find humor in Guinn Williams drinking a quart of milk non-stop while policemen watch. The interesting plot turn of deportation is not very well handled.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In spite of a big, obvious hole in the plot, "Big City" is a very good drama and crime film. It's also a story about strong family ties, true friendships, sacrifice and love. Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer star as Joe and Anna Benton. Theirs is a wonderful love story within this picture. The setting is New York City of the mid-1930s, with a taxi war between a big cab company (Comet, in the movie) and independent taxi owners.

    Joe and Anna are married, very happy and much in love. Their acting is superb throughout, and shows the talent of both actors. Especially amusing and heartwarming is their affectionate clowning and joking with one another. Joe is an independent taxi owner, with Anna's brother, Paul (played by Victor Varconi). Anna and Paul come from a European country. We never find out which one, or how or where she and Joe met and married. A likely explanation to fill this hole would be that Anna and Paul were able to emigrate to the U.S. and that Joe and he became taxi partners and Joe married Anna. But, now, they are just six weeks shy of being married three years when her U.S. citizenship through marriage would be granted.

    The independent taxi owners and drivers are closely knit, which enables them to survive the efforts of the sole huge cab company to run them out of business. The owner of the Comet taxi company, John Andrews (played by Oscar O'Shea) thinks there's room for the independents as well as his company. But he has hired a safety and protective service that is run by Beecher. William Demarest plays the villainous character who has some thugs on the Comet payroll, especially to create incidents with the independents.

    Paul gets a job with Comet to get on the inside and find out how they set up and alert their drivers to gang up on the independents. Only, Beecher has his own plant among the independents. So, when they learn of Paul's plan, Beecher has a bomb rigged in the Comet warehouse to kill Paul. The big hole in the story occurs with the crime. Paul pulls into the garage and one of Beecher's thugs at the garage entrance pushes the button to explode the bomb. Some of the roof caves in, but Paull is not inside the locker room where the bomb was planted. So, he starts to stagger out, and the thug shoots him three times. The thug then breaks the fire alarm glass, and some men on the street rush to the night-time scene. Paul's body is clearly lying just inside the driveway. The hole is that in the ensuing investigation, there's no mention of Paul's shooting or investigation of who did that; but there is a scene of Paul's funeral.

    The district attorney himself investigates the crime because he and the mayor want to prevent an out and out taxi war. By the wildest stretch of anyone's imagination, Anna is fingered for having sent the bomb. She had sent Paul's raincoat and a sweater in a box that was delivered that very night. This makes no sense at all. Why would she kill her own brother whom she loved? Did she then have a hired gunman there to gun down Paul? Why was there no further mention of his shooting or who shot and killed him? This indeed is a big hole in the film.

    So, skipping over that big hole, the DA and mayor don't want a big brouhaha that might lead to a taxi war, so they plan to deport Anna. That would end the whole matter, and they can do it before her citizenship is final. Anna is put on a ship in a small, crowded room with other women being deported. But she is very far along in her pregnancy (another slight hole in the time since she told Joe, and the fact that she didn't appear to be pregnant), and ill. Joe is worried and goes out to collect enough money to have her moved to a separate room by herself once the ship sails. He plans to follow her to her country, wherever that is, in a few weeks. But, in his scrambling to get enough money for this, he discovers that Buddy was the Comet plant in their ranks, and Buddy tells him the whole story.

    Joe and Mike (Eddie Quillan) race against time, with Buddy in tow, to find the D,A, and then the mayor to stop the ship from leaving with Anna. They finally break in on the annual Jack Dempsey dinner. Buddy spills the beans about the crime and Beecher's whole operation, and Joe pleads with the mayor to hurry to stop the ship and save his wife who's about to have their baby.

    The next race is the whole dinner room clearing out and racing to the docks. They arrive in time to take Anna off the ship and put her in an ambulance. And while she's giving birth there, the Comet drivers arrive in large numbers and start a fisticuffs' with the independents. But the latter are aided by the mayor's dinner party attendees who include former world boxing champions, wrestling champs and even football players. In on the fun are Jack Dempsey, James Jeffries, Max Rosenbloom, Man Mountain Dean, Jim Thorpe, George Godfrey, Bill Montana, Rex 'Sonny' Baker, and Cotton Warburton.

    The picture ends with the baptism of Joe and Anna's baby boy and dozens of men smiling in attendance, as the Orthodox priest calls out a long list of baptismal names - those of all the men at the Christening.
  • Not a classic in any sense of the word, still worth seeing for MGM's attempt to make a good guy vs. the government picture.

    The big star in 1937 was Luise Rainer, having just won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Anna Held in one of the most celebrated films of all time "The Great Ziegfeld". She was to win a consecutive Oscar in 1937 for best actress, becoming the first actor to do so in the history of the academy. Spencer Tracy, still in his formative days and not as well known, is given second billing. This film was a disappointment as nothing gelled as expected, and there was little drama to make it interesting.

    While this was not a great movie, it was a very early attempt at the good guy fights corruption theme. For that reason, you may want to see it.
  • wes-connors14 January 2015
    New York City cabdriver Spencer Tracy (as Joe Benton) picks up dewy-eyed Luise Rainer (as Anna Roya) on the street one evening and makes amorous advances. A policeman stops Mr. Tracy's aggressive moves, but Ms. Rainer jumps into his arms. As it turns out, the co-stars are happily married and enjoy role-playing. The real problem is with "independent" driver Tracy and a big taxicab company. A taxi war is going on and Ms. Rainer, a Russian immigrant, becomes a murder suspect. Future "My Three Sons" TV series favorite uncle William Demarest (as Beecher) stands out as the lead bad-guy. Near the end, Jack Dempsey and several sports figures appear...

    "Big City" opens like a comedy, turns into a hard-boiled crime drama, then tries to merge events in a closing stolen by athletic fighter and manic speedster Eddie Quillan (as Mike Edwards). The film is a vehicle for Rainer, elevated to MGM stardom as studio chief Louis B. Mayer sought another Greta Garbo. More like Garbo's Russian ballerina from "Grand Hotel" than Tracy's working-class wife, Rainer recalls the Swedish superstar most in her telephone and ice cream cone scenes. The two-time "Oscar" winner has an interesting courtroom outburst and emotes unmercifully during her saddest scenes. Director Frank Borzage moves it along and captures some atmosphere.

    ***** Big City (9/3/37) Frank Borzage ~ Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, William Demarest, Eddie Quillan
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This old movie sort of reminded me of recent movies involving a couple in love and the subject of deportation. Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer are the starring couple who have to fight against the wife being deported which is being used as a way to avoid a trial involving a cab driver's death and a turf war between competing cab drivers. Luise Rainer who only starred in a few films shows her similar facial expressions which were seen in her earlier movie, the Good Earth, where she got an Academy Award. The movie's main plot involves scurrying the alien wife around to avoid deportation. When she sees how hiding her has created problems for her friends, she decides to give herself up. She is placed on a ship set to leave the country. At this point, the reason for her being deported has been discovered to be false, so her husband goes to the mayor to rescind the deportation order. With little time before the ship departs, the mayor agrees to be driven to the ship in an attempt to cancel the wife's deportation. The movie has a rather unique cameos of many athletes from the 1930s including Jack Dempsey, Jack Jeffries, and Jim Thorpe. The athletes decide to tag along for the ride and then come in handy when the competing cab drivers decide to stage a "rumble" against the other cab drivers. A free for all ensues and the athletes take "target practice" against the group of cab drivers looking for a fight. An amusing movie with unique cameos from athletes from the past. It certainly doesn't stack up against Spencer Tracy's or Luise Rainer's other movie roles, but they do portray the loving couple in a believable light.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spencer Tracy has always been one of my two favorite actors. So for me to forget that I had ever watched this movie...well, that tells you something. And, there are a couple of things that I really dislike about this film. First, at the beginning of the film we are forced to watch a full 13 minutes of childish behavior between Tracy and Luise Rainer to prove to us that they're in love. 13 minutes out of an 80 minute film (that's 17% of the film). Second, this film came out in 1937, but it has the feel of an early 1930s film. Almost amateurish.

    Now, the main plot -- feuding taxi drivers -- actually makes some sense, although perhaps to us in this day and time it seems strange. But, things like that did happen back in the day. How some of our reviewers could think this is a comedy, baffles me. Let's see...what are the main themes of the film? Intimidation, murder, and deportation. Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. No, this is a drama with, perhaps, a very few light moments.

    Spencer Tracy is okay here, although this not his finest hour. This film -- though after a few striking dramatic films (such as "Fury" and "San Francisco") was still in what I see as Tracy's "searching for a persona" period. His tremendous string of hit films was to begin just one year later with "Boys' Town".

    Luise Rainer, the female lead...well, to be honest, I just don't get it...and never have. What exactly was the attraction here? Perhaps the fact that she is still living at age 102, but only made less than a dozen American films, explains that not too many others saw the attraction, either. Was it her "look"? Her accent? Perhaps. She is okay for this film, because in it she plays an old world character. But I remain unimpressed and think she belonged in the silent film era when "a look" sufficed; look at some of her photos on the web, and she seems to always be "primping" for the camera.

    You'll recognize a lot of faces of character actors in this film, though probably not their names, the one exception being that of William Demarest, who here plays the real bad guy.

    A highlight of the film is near the conclusion, when a number of famous sports personalities (including Jack Dempsey, James J. Jeffries, Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom, and Jim Thorpe) join in on a massive fight. You'll have to know their faces since they are non-speaking parts and not introduced (except for Dempsey).

    My bottom line is that this film is worth watching, but that I doubt it will end up on your DVD shelf. Perhaps if Warner Brothers had made it, instead of MGM, it would have been a better film...they "got" this kind of movie.
  • A battle is heating up between different taxi factions in the big city. The Comet Taxi company owner John C. Andrews is reconsidering the hiring of thugs in his competition against the independents. Joe Benton (Spencer Tracy) is one of those independents and married to immigrant Anna (Luise Rainer). Anna announces that she's pregnant. She sends her brother to deliver a raincoat to the Comet garage. The thugs had planned a frame up for him. They shoot the brother after they bomb the garage to start a taxi war. Anna won't be a citizen for another six weeks and the authority decides to deport her to alleviate the public pressure.

    The movie has two great Hollywood legends in Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer. It starts like a rom-com and Spencer's charms really sell that. They're a great on-screen couple. Luise has an exotic beauty. The plot turns into a bit of a gangster thriller. There isn't much tension. It becomes a melodrama. It needs more action. Spencer wrongly continues his smiling charms which belies the dire straits of the situation. It's not a highlight for either of these legends but their star power cannot be denied.