Navy Lt. Richard Perry becomes an undercover man out to discover the leaders of a group of well connected men who pull off bank robberies during the McKinley administration (early 20th ...
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Navy Lt. Richard Perry becomes an undercover man out to discover the leaders of a group of well connected men who pull off bank robberies during the McKinley administration (early 20th century).Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Although the origin of the screenplay is not credited, the Motion Picture Herald stated that the film was based on a story written by Melville Crossman (a pseudonym of Darryl F. Zanuck), which appeared in Liberty Magazine. However, no other source mentions that story. See more »
The opening credits list the names in picture frames with subtle tree silhouettes in the background. See more »
Did anyone watching this movie wonder if President McKinley got assassinated, because of his secret attempt to unmask one of his confidantes as the kingpin of a crime syndicate? It's a question that was left unexplored here, because, I take it, Americans of the thirties never saw the event as anything but the act of a lone fanatic instead of as a conspiracy. After all, audiences were still recovering from the aftermath of a Depression, and the movies of the time were more concerned with stamping out the Little Caesars and Duke Santees of the day than uncovering political corruption. Allan Rivkin ("The Farmer's Daughter") wrote an interesting story about a naval officer (Robert Taylor) who, in secret correspondence with McKinley, uncovers the linchpin behind a wave of bank robberies in the upper Midwest centered in, of all places, St. Paul, Minnesota. The screenplay gets sanctimonious in the hands of Lamar Trotti, and the script did not inspire William Seiter to more imaginative heights. Brian Donlevy plays the crime boss with his usual menace, while Barbara Stanwyck (of all people) as his half-sister is made to sing (She's barely on-key, like Marlene Dietrich in "The Blue Angel.") and wear big, floppy hats--even in her stage act. The only one I've ever seen on screen who could pull off wearing headgear like these is Mae West, and she was at least in on the joke. Stanwyck, on the other hand, is forced to be unswervingly sincere throughout. Her character Lil and the officer idle on Lake Como and get serious about each other, much to the dismay of Victor MacLaglen who's Donlevy's sidekick, prone to playing practical jokes, and thinks he has it in with her. The acting is uniformly bad; I guess Stanwyck and Taylor were too much in love at the time to care. The story deserved better than this. A secret only you and the President share you would think should take precedence over run-of-the mill movie romance. Unless it involves a cigar and a stained dress...
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