You and Me (1938)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Film-Noir, Romance

You and Me (1938) Poster

An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.


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12 December 2006 | bkoganbing
| Crime Doesn't Pay
You And Me is an interesting experiment which falls way short in execution, but still is an interesting view.

The closest American film I could compare it to is Al Jolson's Hallelujah I'm a Bum which utilized that same sing/talk rhythmic technique in many spots. Rodgers&Hart's efforts were not as butchered as Kurt Weill's were, my guess is that Paramount got cold feet and tried to salvage the film as they saw it by making it more of a typical gangster yarn.

The story involves Harry Carey who as part of his payback to society hires freshly paroled convicts in his department store. The presumption is that he does screen them for employment.

George Raft is one of those ex-convicts hired there and he meets and falls for Sylvia Sidney. She knows about him, but he doesn't know she is also on parole. Other prison pals working for Carey are, George E. Stone, Warren Hymer, Jack Pennick, Robert Cummings and Roscoe Karns.

One very unregenerated crook, Barton MacLane, tries to get the whole crew of them to help knock over the store. What happens is the rest of the plot of the film.

Perhaps You and Me might have been better done elsewhere. I'm thinking of Warner Brothers who specialized in these working class stories. Barton MacLane, George E. Stone, and Warren Hymer certainly all were part of Warner's gangster stable and George Raft moved to Warner Brothers himself a year after You and Me came out. Paramount just didn't go in for stories like these and the results show.

Highlight of the film is Sylvia Sidney giving a lecture in economics about how crime doesn't pay. For heist guys like these when you deduct the expenses of a job, it really doesn't pay. Only the folks at the top really make out.

By the way you might call what Kurt Weill tried to do musically and Fritz Lang brought to the screen as one long rap music video. You and Me may have been way too soon ahead of its time.

Still it's probably worth a look if for no other reason than to see a joint collaborative effort of two expatriates from the Nazi regime, Kurt Weill and Fritz Lang.

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