When a cheeky bellhop Bert Harris (a young James Cagney, in the same year he made his blistering appearance in The Public Enemy) meets a dishy blonde Anne Roberts (the effervescent Joan Blondell) and gets her installed in his hotel as a chambermaid through nefarious means, the pair set a criminal scheme into motion. Here’s the grift: they entrap and blackmail married men who are caught up to no good. The problem is that they’re wide open to being conned by a bigger fish, and Dapper Dan Barker (Louis Calhern) is precisely that fish. In spite of a rather unexpectedly sweet conclusion, it’s pretty obvious no one who made this movie was interested in ‘respectability’… whatever that word’s supposed to mean.
Notes by Christina Newland
Screening as part of our Pre-Code Hollywood: Rules Are Made To Be Broken season, August 1st to 8th.