Though perhaps it tries too hard to be 'respectable' and downplays its tawdry trash vulgarity a little too much (the film is tough, but William Lindsay Gresham's superb novel is even tougher), this is still a mean, moody, and well-nigh magnificent melodrama. Power excels as the hick fairground huckster who rises to society celebrity as a fake spiritualist, only to have fickle fortune arc him back to the midway as the boozed-up, live-chicken-eating geek. Blondell, Gray and the strange Helen Walker are the women he uses/abuses to grease his path. Lee Garmes' camerawork, Jules Furthman's script, and Goulding's direction make this one of the most oddball and enduring of the decade's Hollywood highspots.
Cast and crew