6/10
This one takes some time to get going...
14 November 2010
...but ultimately it is worth waiting for it to build up steam. The first half hour you'll literally be asking yourself - Is this story ever going anywhere? - but indeed it does.

It's about the ne'er do well son, Bud (Chester Morris), of a respected minister, the Reverend John Williams (Grant Mitchell). Everyone seems so worried about Bud that they don't notice that daughter Lillian (Helen Twelvetrees) has a wild streak herself, mainly because she has a steady beau of which the family approves.

After knocking a professional fighter out with one punch during a crap game one day, it is proposed to Bud that he go professional. He wins one local fight, and this makes him think the whole thing is a piece of cake. When he hits the road he finds out different, and pretty soon Bud is back to earning his living as a soda jerk while lying to the folks back home about his success. Lillian follows Bud to New York, takes a job in a chorus, and takes up with a rich man who agrees to fix it so that Bud can fight his way to a championship, just as long as she agrees to be his mistress. At the same time Bud has gotten involved with a brassy chorus girl himself (Evelyn, played by Alice White). Bud wants to marry Evelyn, unaware that she is being kept by a married man who wants things to stay the way they are. How does all of this work out? I'll let you watch and find out.

I know this plot seems to tread lots of familiar precode ground, but the conclusion is truly unique, and the final scene is touching and even positive in a way you would not expect. Chester Morris is very good here as the smart guy who turns out to be not nearly as smart as he thinks he is, and is at the center of this film, but not to be overlooked is the excellent job that Grant Mitchell does as Bud's father. He's very understanding of Bud, and it turns out part of his sympathy is a because of a secret about his past that he's kept from his children all of these years, one that he reveals at the end.

I'd recommend this one for fans of the precodes in general and Chester Morris in particular.
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