Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

LADY GANGSTER


LADY GANGSTER (1942). Director: Robert Florey.

A failed actress, Dot Burton ( Faye Emerson), gets in with a gang of hoods and becomes embroiled in a bank robbery scheme. She winds up doing time with an interesting bunch of lady inmates, and then things get really complicated. This fast-paced, lively and very entertaining "B" movie is so unpredictable for the most part that it would be criminal to give away any more of the plot elements. It has the very casual immorality of most of these kind of movies. Emerson gives a vivid and adept performance as Dot, as does Ruth Ford as "stool pigeon" Lucy, Julie Bishop as inmate Myrtle, Dorothy Adams as "Deaf Annie," and Virginia Brissac as the warden Mrs. Stoner. Hedda Hopper's son William, herein billed as "DeWolf Hopper," has a small role, as does "The Great One" -- Jackie Gleason (billed as Jackie C. Gleason). Hopper is as stiff as ever, but Gleason makes a nice impression as a pleasant member of the robbery gang who has a soft touch for Dot. Roland Drew as gang leader Carey looks surprisingly good in drag. Frank Wilcox is only adequate as Kenneth, the old friend of Dot's who turns her in and then tries to help her.

Verdict: A pleasant surprise. ***.

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