A taut underworld drama, adapted for the screen from Lewis Milestone's own play by Bartlett Cormack. Politically connected bootlegger Nick Scarsi (Louis Wolheim) and police captain McQuigg (Thomas Meighan) have a long-standing beef, which intensifies after Scarsi's trucks are stopped by
the police then released because of his pull with local politicos. Scarsi tries to pay off McQuigg, and when McQuigg refuses, Scarsi uses his juice to have McQuigg transferred to a precinct in the middle of nowhere. Meanwhile, Scarsi is having trouble on the home front. His younger brother Joe
(George Stone) has the hots for a chanteuse named Helen (Marie Prevost). She and Nick have a run-in at Joe's birthday party, where Nick deliberately humiliates her. She decides to seduce Joe just to make Nick mad, and the two of them go out for a drive in Joe's roadster. Helen and Joe have a
squabble on the road, and she storms out of his car just as a police cruiser happens by. Joe hits the gas, and in the ensuing high-speed chase hits an innocent bystander. The police arrest him for hit-and-run driving. Joe is booked under a false name, but Helen tips off a reporter (Skeets
Gallagher) that he's really the younger brother of a notorious gangster. Nick later murders a policeman and is arrested. He cuts a deal with the District Attorney (Sam De Grasse), who then double-crosses him and has Nick shot as he tries to escape. McQuigg finally has his revenge.
Antihero Louis Wolheim, whose tough-guy looks typed him as thugs and gangsters, died in 1931 of cancer. But he worked one more time with director Lewis Milestone on the 1930 antiwar classic ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, in which Milestone cast him atypically as a sympathetic veteran soldier who
helps the film's young hero (Lew Ayres) cope with the horrors of war.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A taut underworld drama, adapted for the screen from Lewis Milestone's own play by Bartlett Cormack. Politically connected bootlegger Nick Scarsi (Louis Wolheim) and police captain McQuigg (Thomas Meighan) have a long-standing beef, which intensifies after… (more)