Reminiscent of Renoir's La Bête Humaine (and not shamed by the comparison), this kicks off as fast, fluid, wisecracking comedy, then unexpectedly turns into a touching little tragedy about three people caught up in an unhappy triangle. The outcome is familiar, even conventional, with one rival being heroic and the other outdoing him; but the treatment is so rooted in reality and the acting so good (a bizarre trio of Astor, Withers and Toomey) that the result is a small masterpiece. Above all it is a film to be revelled in for its documentary detail: the sleepy little town with its quiet suburbia, its grimy hash-joint and steamy dance hall (where Cagney, in a supporting role, has a characteristically marvellous moment), and its vast, smoky complex of railway lines, shunting yards and railway sheds, always a major character in the film and swelling to malevolent proportions for the dark, rain-soaked finale.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Maude Fulton, William K Wells|