22 January 2010 | Michael_Elliott
Great O'Malley, The (1937)
** (out of 4)
Boring melodrama from Warner about cop James O'Malley (Pat O'Brien), an overbearing cop who follows the law down to the wire and this includes passing out tickets for the smallest of issues. Soon he costs a poor man (Humphrey Bogart) a job and the man turns to crime and soon finds himself away from his cripple daughter and doing a ten year sentence. O'Malley gains more and more enemies and soon finds himself close to the man's daughter where he might finally learn his lesson. I'm really not sure what the point of this film was for several reasons. O'Malley is an ugly character, a complete jerk and one people are really going to hate so showing this type of cop to people probably wasn't the best of ideas. I'm not even sure why a story like this would interest anyone and the film comes off like the stars and director didn't have much faith in it either. Dietrich is certainly directing by the numbers as nothing here really jumps out at you as having much effort put into it. There's really not any powerful scenes, drama, laughs or anything else. Granted, nothing here is overly bad but just flat. O'Brien gives a decent performance but it's certainly far from his best because there's not much soul or fire to the character. Bogart does get to shine in a role that you normally wouldn't see him play. I thought he did a pretty good job playing the poor guy trying to look out for his family and it's the type of role you'd expect someone like Spencer Tracy to play but Bogie does fine with it. Sybil Jason and Ann Sheridan add nice support as does Donald Crisp. Warner was the studio for blue collar tales but this one here never really works and I'm really not sure what the point of any of it was.