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Friday, October 22, 2010


Only the chance for solo-billing above the title @ glamorous M-G-M accounts for Edward G. Robinson making this sentimental mob story. He’s called Joe Krozac here, but you’ll recognize Little Caesar in this slushy tale of Father-love. Out of jail after a ten year stint, Eddie only wants to find the son he’s never known, but the kid’s been raised to think that newsman James Stewart (unbelievably skinny) is his dad. Meantime, his old gang grabs him and puts the screws on to find out where he hid all the loot. When he won’t give it up they kidnap sonny boy and give him the works, see. Yeah, yeah, de woiks. (No joke, that’s the level of dialogue all thru the film.) In a series of truly weird scenes, Eddie & the boy (who speaks with a slight British accent for some reason) bond as they travel home. Naturally, Eddie does right by the kid while the wheels of justice grind on for a finish the Production Code can get behind. The whole package is odd enough to hold your attention, but Eddie must have been crestfallen to find himself in a glorified ‘B’ pic. Followers of Hollywood dynasties will note that the debuting mom is the mysterious Austrian actress Rosa Stradner who only made a couple more pics before settling down (most unhappily) as Mrs. Joe Mankiewicz.

CONTEST: Warner Archive DVDs generally come sans Extras, but this one has a clever little trailer that’s a lot better than the movie. Eddie G. hosts as if he were Jack Benny doing a monologue and tells a joke that violates the Production Code. How’d he get away with it? Find the joke and name the violation to win our usual prize, a MAKSQUIBS Write-Up of the NetFlix DVD of your choice.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: To see Eddie off the Warners lot, and joyfully sending himself up as both mobster & Milquetoast, try THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING/’35, an outstanding comedy he made @ Columbia with the great Jean Arthur that’s superbly helmed by (wait for it) John Ford. Tremendous fun.

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