STRANDED (1935). Director: Frank Borzage.
Lynn Palmer (Kay Francis) has dedicated her life to helping people via the Traveler's Aid Society. Back into her life comes an old school chum, Mack Hale (George Brent, pictured), who's building a bridge and dealing with hoods who want him to pay protection money. Mack is a practical, somewhat cold-blooded guy who thinks Lynn is a fool to care for losers who can't care for themselves (even though he hires a young man who came to her for help). As their relationship hits a personal crisis -- Lynn tells him that she won't give up her job after they've married -- things at Mac's job get worse. The hoods manage to get some of the workers drunk, which leads to a disturbing, indeed horrifying, scene, when one of the drunk men falls dozens of stories to his death. (In fact, that's about all you can think about until the end of the movie.) Things are resolved a bit too quickly -- that's Hollywood -- but Stranded is an engrossing picture featuring two excellent lead performances. Lynn Palmer is a fascinating, likable, independent female characterization and is is very well portrayed by Francis in one of her most notable performances. Donald Woods, Frankie Darro, Barton MacLane, Ann Shoemaker, and other fine character actors also give fine support.
Verdict: Very interesting drama. ***.