23 July 2016 | Michael_Elliott
Nice "B" Picture
Gangs of Chicago (1940)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Matty Burns (Lloyd Nolan) attends law school and quickly becomes one of the brightest of his class. The only catch is that he isn't going to become a good guy but instead he wants to learn the law so that he can become a great criminal as well as help a big shot crime lord (Barton MacLane).
GANGS OF CHICAGO is a "B" movie from Republic, which tries to be a throwback to the gangster pictures that Warner was throwing out during the 1930s. There's some hard hitting bits on crime and there's no question that it's well-made and especially when you consider the budget wasn't that high.
Another thing the film has going for it is the terrific cast with Nolan doing an extremely good job as the wise-cracking crook. I liked how Nolan made him a rather smart character who knew what to say and how to say it. MacLane was always fun to watch and he gets to soak up the villain role here. Both Lola Lane and Ray Middleton are good in their roles and fans of Universal's horror movies will be happy to see Dwight Frye towards the very end.
At just 66 minutes the film flies by without any issues and for the most part it's an entertaining picture.