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

Thursday, June 29, 2017


CRIME WITHOUT PASSION (1934). Produced, written and directed by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.

Reading a note: ""If you're not here by four o'clock the comedy is finished -- Carmen.' You should have signed it 'Pagliacci.'" -- Lee

A brilliant if arrogant lawyer, Lee Gentry (Claude Rains), is involved with a club entertainer named Carmen (Margo) but thinks he would be better off with the less tempestuous and more patrician Katy (Whitney Bourne). Carmen was once involved with a man named Eddie (Stanley Ridges), and Lee tries to make a big deal out of Eddie's coming to see her just so he can make her the "fall guy" and end his relationship with her. But Carmen is no fool, and things don't work out the way anyone intended. Crime Without Passion has some good acting -- Margo [Lost Horizon] and Rains [The Passionate Friends] are both splendid -- dialogue and situations, but it falls apart by (even back in those says) ignoring certain realities of the criminal justice system. Just because someone gets shot doesn't always make it first degree murder. Anyway, the film is brief and minor. Hecht also co-authored the screenplay for Legend of the Lost.

Verdict: Good lead performances can't save a turgid movie. **.

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