At the Metropolitan
Although the management of the Met has seen fit to bill "The Earl of Chicago" second to Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey in "Balalaika," it is the Robert Montgomery vehicle which makes the evening worth while. Bob forsakes his debonair Piccadilly Jim pose and goes to town with a portrayal of the shock effect of English upper class mores upon a typical Chicago, gangster.
It's a pleasure to see Montgomery doing something besides his usual playboy roles. Those who know the star always have claimed that he could do a real job if the studio would only give him a chance. The critics confirmed this in their reviews of "Night Must Fall" but the public was only bewildered to see good old light-hearted Bob playing a murderous bellhop. They laughed in the wrong places. Not this time, however. As the tension gathered, in the last half hour of the film and "Silky" Kilmount, now twelfth Earl of Galay, is condemned by his peers to be "hanged by the neck until he be dead" there were no laughs but plenty of noses being blown. It's good cinema with a dash of psychology thrown in. Montgomery plays the part of a gangster in post-Prohibition Chicago who is making a pretty penny out of Kilmount's Breath of Heather Scotch, when he hears of his accession to an English title. His partner is Edward Arnold, a 100 per cent honest lawyer, whom Silky has previously framed and sent to Joliet for seven years. This is the background against which is thrown the concatenation of events leading to Silky's trial, conviction, and execution as the Earl of Galay. Arnold and British-born Edmund Gwenn support Montgomery superably, and amazingly enough there is hardly a woman's face in the entire 87 minutes of running time. This is no epic such as "The Grapes of Wrath," but in its unpretentious way it is well worth seeing. It'll give you an entirely new slant on the Hollywood vs. Foreign-made picture debate.