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Monday, April 27, 2009

SMART MONEY (1931)


Odd little programmer from Warners with Edward G. Robinson (and James Cagney in support) as a small town barber with winning ways, who raises a big stake to go the Big City and crash the private gambling scene. At first, he’s taken for a ride by some city slickers, but he rebounds to take another crack. The period flavor is mighty tasty, but Robinson hasn’t quite figured out how to gauge his effects for the camera and faceless megging from Alfred E. Green hardly helps. More interest lies in the buddy/buddy relationship between Robinson & Cagney as these two avoid anything beyond fanciful flirtation with a series of highly available gals while prancing about with each other. A lot of critics have noted a suppressed ‘gay jealousy’ angle between Eddie G. & Doug Fairbanks, Jr. in LITTLE CAESAR/’30, but it’s pretty hard to spot. Not here. And speaking of hard to spot, look fast for Boris Karloff in a bit and even faster for a notions counter salesman who's on the cast list as Wallace McDonald, but who sure looks like the young Preston Sturges.

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