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A Paul Douglas picture is a good form of entertainment for a hot summer's night. The even distribution of good gags is never calculated to panic anybody, yet the subtle humor of his gruffness imprints many of the punch lines in your memory. "Love That Brute" provides Douglas with the necessary background--manageable if dull--and gives him the assistance of a skilled supporting comedian, Keenan Wynn. Between the two of them, there are enough laughs to qualify the picture as entertainment but nowhere near enough to give it a name for good comedy.
As a kind-hearted gangster who can't kill his enemies but rather keeps them locked up in his cellar, Douglas plays the lead in a plot that gently parodies the gang warfare movies. Left alone, the parody would have made an exceptionally good scenario. The sex angle, however, in the form of Jane Peters, a country girl who comes to work for Douglas, imposes itself early in the plot and proceeds slowly but firmly to obscure the climax of the parody. Although Jane Peters has one moment of glory in a night club torch song, she is terribly miscast for her main role as the governess in the Douglas household. For a character who should be strong-willed enough to attract Douglas, she manages to make most of her behavior seem spineless and effeminate.
The second feature, "Rapture," is a foreign imitation of the American psychological drama. Its chief failing is that it combines a rather naive brand of soap-opera psychology with a very poor dramatic situation. Filmed in the Campagna region outside of Rome, the plot leans heavily on the "rapture" of Roman ruins in the moonlight and pays little attention to its main theme--the romance and disillusionment of a young girl and a sculptor. Nearly every emotional sequence in the film is hackneyed and bears the imperfections of what it plagarized from American melodrama.
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