Nice Cast; Too Much Talking
11 April 2010
Ruling Voice, The (1931)

** (out of 4)

Disappointing crime-drama from Warner has Walter Huston playing a racketeer who will stop at nothing to get as much power and money that he can. The daughter (Loretta Young) he hasn't seen in ten years comes home from Europe with a fiancé (David Manners) but when she learns what her father is really doing she turns her back on him. I'm a major fan of the three leads but sadly this melodrama is way too wordy and in the end it's a pretty boring film from start to finish. The biggest problem is the actual screenplay that doesn't offer very much except for tired dialogue that seems to keep coming and coming. Even the easiest of scenes contain way too much dialogue and the talking just keeps going to the point where you're ready to turn your hearing off just to get away from it. The screenplay is full of predictable things and not for a second will anyone believe the relationship between Huston and Young. There wasn't a single second where I actually believed that he would care about what she feels towards him. I mean, he hasn't bothered seeing her in ten years and all of the sudden he's just going to change his ways? Huston is decent in the role of the racketeer but no one is going to confuse this for one of his better performances. He does seem to be somewhat all over the place in terms of staggering away the set but I'm going to guess this has more to do with the director. Young is as beautiful as ever as this here was certainly a very high point in terms of those beautiful looks. Her performance hits all the right notes and she's wonderful in the sequence where she learns the truth about her father. Manners will always be best remembered for his role in the same year's Dracula but the more I see from him the more impressed I get. He perfectly fits the role of this nice guy trying to make money to marry Young. The film runs a rather short 72-minutes but you'd swear it was twice as long due to the non-stop talk and lack of any real action. Fans of the three leads might want to check it out if they plan to see everything they've done but others should stay clear.
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