7 December 2018 | boblipton
Cast And Crew Try To Make An Important Movie
Alan Baxter has just graduated from college and has the chance to buy the "Foreign-American Institute" from Walter Kingsford, teaching immigrants what they need for their citizenship papers. Owen Davis Jr. has just become lawyer. Andrea Leeds is the girl they both love, and with whom they split malted at the shop of Al Shean. He's Mr. Davis' father, but he looks on all three as his children. Baxter discovers that Shean has saved up $600 to outfit a law office for Davis. He goes to steal it and winds up killing Shean.
It's an ambitious production for Republic Pictures, from a script co-written by Nathaniel West. There's a long excursion, before Baxter is identified by the police as the killer, involving Walter Kingsford, forcing Baxter to blackmail his students to pay his fees lest he report them as foreigners, and using Nietzsche to justify it. The first shake-down is tried on Christian Rub, who has a very good scene.
Nietzsche was the boogey-man of philosophers in the early 20th century; because he wrote about the mob's willingness to accept any charlatan on a white horse and do terrible things. People who never bothered to read him assumed he approved; plus he spent time in a madhouse; worst of all, he was German. So people quoted snippets, thought they represented everything about his opinions, and despised what they believed he had written without having read it. No wonder he went mad.
In the end and despite considerable acting chops in the cast, the cheapness of the production leaves director Phil Rosen with little more than a simplistic fairy tale, with Kingsford as the ogre and a good mob scene at the end. You can see the ambition of everyone involved in this production, trying to make it something telling and inspirational. Unfortunately, at second feature length and budgeting, they couldn't afford to do more than produce a standard tale.