Griffith's last movie looks like a naturalistic 'human' story struggling to emerge from a stern moral tract on the evils of demon alcohol, a tension that's fascinating at this remove. Despite a robust DTs nightmare climax, it gets nowhere near the intended attack on Prohibition and the perils of 'bad' liquor; but it does have a good eye for the vulnerability of its miserable hero (Skelly, excellent), and a surprisingly sharp way with its pre-Depression satire (catch the Jewish insurance salesman with a sideline in home-made wine). No question, much of the humour springs from Anita Loos' swing-time script ('Get hot, Bozos!'), but it incidentally proves that Griffith mastered the innovations of talkies better than any of his contemporaries believed.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Anita Loos, John Emerson, DW Griffith|