Thunderbolt 07/27/21

KL Studio Classics

This ‘dawn of sound’ classic from Josef Sternberg is an important early entry in the gangster genre, a romanticized tale of urban crime with little violence but a full measure of romantic revenge. Star George Bancroft is the title underworld kingpin, who risks everything to hold his girlfriend Fay Wray the way he holds onto power — with his fists and with his gun. The highly sentimental story has some odd ideas about prison rules on Death Row; although packed with ‘Sternbergian’ touches the visuals aren’t as overtly poetic as is his norm. It’s an interesting study from the first year of ‘all talkie’ pictures: the audio is highly creative but the dialogue delivery is slow — perfect for anyone learning English! On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.