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Too Late and Too Little


Any movie with Robert Taylor, when shown before a predominantly masculine audience (which is what any unprejudiced observer would call the motley assortment which patronizes the UT), starts out with two strikes against it. Because when men take their seats at a Robert Taylor picture, they are all ready to snicker and chortle and even to guffaw outright every time the persecuted Mr. Taylor shows his irresistible face. In the old days the male animal used to carry this jealously-inspired persecution even farther, and three years ago in a New York theatre seven men were prostrated with hysterics before Mr. Taylor could utter a single word.

If a picture can stand up against this kind of preconceived public opinion it is good, and "Johnny Eager," judged by this criterion, is an excellent movie. For the audience really likes it; nor is there any reason under the sun why they shouldn't. Though its ending is a little obvious and its plot at times doesn't stand up under close inspection, the picture is a fast-moving, well-acted, well-written, and excellently directed gangster story. Robert Taylor is a big-shot crook with a heart so hard that he doesn't fall in love with Lana Turner till almost the end of the picture. When he does find that he loves her the story becomes lightly trite and melodramatic, but up to then it moves along with a freshness, rapidity, and even originality, which are a pleasure to behold.

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