A solid if unremarkable action melodrama that teams O'Brien and Fonda as rough-and-tumble power company employees who work the high-tension power lines. The film opens as Fonda, a young farmboy, spots a crew of men working on the power lines near his father's farm. Enthralled by the
dangerous work and anxious to leave the rural life behind him, Fonda asks the crew's hard-boiled boss, O'Brien, for a job. O'Brien likes Fonda's manner and decides to give the kid a try. After some intensive training in the repair and maintenance of the dangerous high-voltage power lines, Fonda is
assigned his first job. Swallowing his fears, the novice climbs up the steel tower and performs the task admirably. Meanwhile, Fonda has developed a liking for his buddy O'Brien's girl friend, Lindsay, and she for him. Sensing that the two were meant for each other, O'Brien bows out of the
relationship, preferring the danger of the high-voltage lines to romance. The decision puts little strain on the men's friendship, as Fonda proves his loyalty by suffering a stab wound in a bar fight to save O'Brien. The danger of his job combined with the drinking and carousing afterward begins
to take its toll on Lindsay and she encourages Fonda to quit. Despite her worries, Fonda refuses to give up the lifestyle. Soon after, O'Brien and Fonda are sent out in a blizzard to repair a line knocked out during the storm. As O'Brien tries to climb the tower in the blinding storm, he
accidentally touches a live power line and falls to his death. Regardless of the hazards, Fonda bravely completes the job and is more determined than ever to remain a lineman. Knowing that Fonda would be unhappy in another line of work, Lindsay resigns herself to the fact that she will always be
in love with the danger-seeking Fonda and decides to remain by his side. While no great shakes as high drama, SLIM is a well-crafted buddy picture, which offers a detailed look at an occupation little seen in movies. Warners was specializing in films devoted to the common working man, many of
which starred O'Brien in a variety of occupations. Having usually teamed O'Brien with James Cagney, Warner Bros. decided to go with a new face that was younger and more idealistic than the diminutive tough guy. Relative newcomer Fonda was perfect for the part because he embodied all the engaging
sincerity needed to make the part of the naive farm boy work. SLIM was Fonda's first film for Warner Bros. and his talents complemented O'Brien's perfectly. The plot device of having Lindsay coming between friends O'Brien and Fonda was lifted from TIGER SHARK (1932) and would be borrowed again for
MANPOWER (1941), eventually becoming a Warner Bros. standard.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A solid if unremarkable action melodrama that teams O'Brien and Fonda as rough-and-tumble power company employees who work the high-tension power lines. The film opens as Fonda, a young farmboy, spots a crew of men working on the power lines near his fathe… (more)