|CRIME WITHOUT PASSION (director/writer: Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur; cinematographer: Lee Garmes; editor: Arthur Ellis; music: Frank Tours/ Oscar Levant; cast: Claude Rains (Lee Gentry), Margo (Carmen Brown), Whitney Bourne (Katy Costello), Stanley Ridges (Eddie White), Paula Trueman (Buster Malloy), Greta Granstedt (Della), Esther Dale (Miss Keeley), Leslie Adams (O'Brien, State Attorney); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur; Paramount Pictures; 1934)|
|"Riveting courtroom drama."
by Dennis Schwartz
Ben Hecht's initial directing attempt is a winner. He
co-directs and co-writes this clever suspense thriller
with longtime writing partner Charles MacArthur. They
previously collaborated on the smash hit Front Page
(1931). The crime drama revolves around a big-time
narcissistic shyster criminal lawyer, Lee Gentry
(Claude Rains), who has tired of his unfaithful
mistress brunette dancer (Margo) and has eyes on a
blonde (Whitney Bourne). The brunette, however,
can't be shaken off that easily. So the smart lawyer
plants a gun on her, but she reacts to it and is
accidentally killed. Realizing her death looks bad for
him, the lawyer uses his unethical lawyering skills to
take away any suspicion from him by a massive
no surprise that the cad gets his comeuppance, but
it's a surprise how he gets it in this riveting
courtroom drama. The opening courtroom scene, with its
brilliant montages and use of innovative new film
techniques, makes this pic unforgettable.
are cameos by Fannie Brice, MacArthur's
stage actress wife Helen Hayes, and from both
Hecht and MacArthur.
pic was aided by top-notch cinematographer Lee Garmes,
who used camera angles most effectively and was said
to have had a hand in the directing.
REVIEWED ON 8/21/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ