10 July 2006 | rsoonsa
G-Man And G-Woman Tussle With The Forces Of Evil, With Musical Interludes To Boot.
This is the third from an agreeable series of four films that feature FBI agents Alan O'Connor (Conrad Nagel) and Bobbie Reynolds, performed by Eleanor Hunt, the latter married to the series producer George Hirliman, who in this manner promotes his wife's movie career in these low budget but well cast and generally neatly configured Grand National pictures. Although Louis J. Gasnier is credited as director, that influential master during the period of seminal French cinema, later at the helm of American silent serial successes (especially PERILS OF PAULINE with Pearl White) struggled with quite imperfect comprehension of the English language, and therefore direction here is from future auteur Joseph H. Lewis, who handles as well supervisory editing functions. United States based smugglers of gold ore from Mexico into the U.S. have become increasingly aggressive, having slain three FBI agents, following which O'Connor and Reynolds are assigned to the affair, the duo journeying into Mexico to a mining region that an assayer, through analysis of a gold bar confiscated from smugglers indicates is the sector wherein the criminals are operating, and there Alan and Bobbie attempt a systematic investigation, but also arouse suspicions of the evildoers. The two agents frequent a night club, the "Tarantella", where Bobbie is able to obtain employment from Scotty (Fuzzy Knight), the club's American owner, as an entertainer, since the spot is a hangout for the border crossing contrabandists, but when the latter discern the true occupation of Alan and Bobbie, they as a result must face a dangerous, and possibly deadly, confrontation with the smuggling group. Hunt, an alluring brunette, with proved talent as comedienne in addition to singing and dancing skills, easily steals the show, generating considerable interest within a mediocre production, and dominating all of her scenes, while former Paramount matinée idol Nagel handily walks through his role during a period when he coveted assignments as a director more than as actor. A striking sense of rhythmic action that will become a Lewis trademark is apparent from the opening action of a film that also benefits from his above standard handling of a seasoned cast that includes a panoply of villains against whom the FBI agents must fight, including Warner Richmond, Charles Delaney, Karl Hackett, Albert J. Smith, et al. A cast member who shall be mentioned in a negative fashion is Knight, whose indigestible efforts at humour could not have been written by anyone with a scrap of self-respect. Distributor Alpha Video utilizes a good print for a DVD version that offers excellent sound quality, and it is to be hoped that Alpha will complete its chronology of the O'Connor/Reynolds quartet of films by releasing the initial two of the string: YELLOW CARGO (1936) and NAVY SPY (1937).