|LET US LIVE (director: John Brahm; screenwriters: story by Joseph Dinneen/Anthony Veiler/Allen Rivken; cinematographer: Lucien Ballard; editor: Al Clark; music: Karol Rathaus; cast: Henry Fonda (Brick Tennant), Maureen O'Sullivan (Mary Roberts), Ralph Bellamy (Lieutenant Everett), Alan Baxter (Joe Linden), Stanley Ridges (District Attorney), Henry Kolker (Chief of Police), Martin Spellman (Jimmy), Philip Trent (Frank Burke), Peter Lynn (Joe Taylor), George Douglas (Ed Walsh); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Perlberg; Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures); 1939)|
of those familiar race against time
thrillers to save an innocent man from the
by Dennis Schwartz
weepie dark crime drama, that comes with an upbeat
ending. It's one of those familiar race against time
thrillers to save an innocent man from the electric
chair. Veteran German director John Brahm ("The
Brasher Doubloon"/ "The Locket"/"The Mad
Magician") sought asylum in America during the Hitler
days, and had success as a Hollywood studio director.
Brahm does a good job with the material. It's based on
a story by Joseph Dinneen and is written by Anthony
Veiler and Allen Rivken. The
bureaucratic DA is vilified for not lifting a finger
to help a possibly innocent man who wants to present
new evidence to clear himself. Brahm makes it clear
that those in charge of enforcing the law can at times
be so arrogant that they can't admit they're ever
nice guy taxi driver Brick Tennant (Henry Fonda) is
arrested on murder charges, on the day he plans to
marry the waitress Mary Roberts (Maureen O'Sullivan)
and move into a new house. The DA (Stanley
Ridges) uses circumstantial evidence and
the testimony of the eleven eyewitnesses, at the
theater crime site of the robbery and watchman murder.
They ID the innocent Brick in a lineup. Brick's
hard-luck friend and new business partner Joe Linden
(Alan Baxter) is also arrested for the murder. When
convicted and set to die in the electric chair, the
supportive Mary at the 11th hour gets the help of Lt.
Detective Everett (Ralph Bellamy). He defies orders to
reopen the case and gets suspended. Despite the
new evidence presented by Mary and Everett, the
execution is set to take place. But when a
neighborhood kid (Martin Spellman)
locates the hopped-up cab used in the robbery and it's
not Brick's cab, the execution is stopped by the DA at
the last minute.
performance by Fonda, excellent b/w noir photography
by the great cinematographer Lucien Ballard and taut
direction by Brahm, keep the melodrama compelling.
REVIEWED ON 10/16/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ