A taut, well-acted gangster melodrama, JOHNNY APOLLO stars the handsome Power, then the biggest star at Fox, wonderfully supported by Arnold, Lamour as his paramour, and Nolan as his bad guy pal. Power is the son of wealthy broker Arnold, and hasn't a worry in the world. He attends an Ivy
League school and is a model student and a devoted son. Arnold is suddenly accused of embezzling and is sent to jail. Power is so disgusted with his father that he changes his name, thinking no one will hire him if he uses his father's name. Oddly, he is fired from a white collar job by an
employer who learns Power's real name, telling Power that his father made a mistake once and he kept his name and worked hard to make it good again. Power finally comes to his senses and decides to get enough money to get Arnold out of prison. He goes to a drunken lawyer, Grapewin, a known fixer,
who tells Power that he needs a lot of money to set Arnold free. Power gets a job with mobster Nolan who takes a liking to him, as does Lamour, Nolan's girl. Power takes another alias, Johnny Apollo, and becomes infamous under that sobriquet. When Grapewin gets religion and decides to present
enough evidence to the authorities to imprison Nolan, the mobster has him killed. Nolan and Power are later sent to prison together where Arnold refuses to recognize his son, hating him for becoming a gangster. When Nolan attempts to break out, Arnold tries to stop him and Nolan shoots him. Nolan
and Power then struggle and Nolan is killed. With Arnold in a coma, Power is about to be tried for the murder of Nolan. But Arnold regains consciousness and clears his son. Both father and son are later released to make new lives for themselves, Lamour at Power's side.
Though somewhat predictable, the tale of big city crime moves along swiftly under Hathaway's expert direction. Power is convincing as the errant son and Arnold is a standout as the noble father who made one big mistake and willingly pays for it by slaving away in the prison boiler shop. Grapewin
has some good moments as the mostly stewed barrister and Nolan is a nice guy on the outside and rotten to the core inside. Lamour as the song-and-dance girl in Nolan's nightclub is only fair. She strains her voice and shows a lot of leg but she's merely a prop. This was the first of five films
Power would make with Hathaway.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A taut, well-acted gangster melodrama, JOHNNY APOLLO stars the handsome Power, then the biggest star at Fox, wonderfully supported by Arnold, Lamour as his paramour, and Nolan as his bad guy pal. Power is the son of wealthy broker Arnold, and hasn't a worr… (more)