Whoever conceived "Manhattan Melodrama" showing at the State this week, evidently desired a rest from the arduous tasks of producing distinguished films. Possibly it was the title which suggested the dramatic possibilities which the melting pot of the world possesses. At any rate, the producer must have had a grand time concocting this extravaganza of human emotions.
The plot is more realistic than usual, for the reform administration in New York permits the portrayal of an honest District Attorney. Possibly this is too rapid an advance, for the story concerns the life of two boys, close friends ever since they were rescued from a shipwreck. Both are essentially fine persons. But while Jim's code allows him honestly to mount the ladder of democracy to the position of District Attorney, Blackie finds that his fits best into the under-world. They remain friends, however, and not even the delicate time when Miss Loy changes her affections destroys their relationship. It is when Jim is running for governor that two murders by Blackie bring matters to a crux. The dramatic denouement satisfactorily disposes of the three characters.
Now, strange to say, the evening is not so dull. Despite the provinces of the plot, you become fascinated with the heroic sufferings which manfully struggle to remain respectfully beneath the surface. Clark Gable behaves splendidly; his happy-go-lucky disposition adequately prepares a rather tearful audience for his inevitable tragic end. The truly noble sentiments of William Powell, as Jim, never leave his actions or his future in question. Myrna Loy, struggling with her loyalty, to both men, comes to the only sensible decision. All three behave logically, although the maelstrom of tragedy holds them in its grip. Yes, you might try the State this week. It will at least demonstrate that some New Yorkers possess commendable characters.