Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Old timey movie review: "Lawyer Man"

This is another film in the Forbidden Hollywood series. I was expecting sex and nudity but instead got only big city corruption. Oh well.

William Powell starts out as a lawyer from the poor side of town, gets recruited by a law firm from the rich side of town, gets framed in a shady case, his new rich friends turn their back on him, he scrapes his way back to the top, gets recruited by the mob/city to be assistant DA where he bites the hand that feeds him by prosecuting one of their own. Then he gives a big speech (one of several) and goes back - with his long suffering secretary Joan Blondell - back to the poor side of town.

All this in slightly over an hour. And without a single courtroom scene.

Let's think about this for a second. The film is called "Lawyer Man," (a terrible title), the film centers on 2 or 3 important trials, William Powell gives 2 or 3 long speeches...and none of this happens in a court room! There's some forced comedy about an Italian immigrant trying to talk his way into the courtroom for an important case, but the guard won't let him, nor the audience inside.

Imagine what Sydney Lumet and Al Pacino could do with this.

Powell gets his revenge on those who wronged him, but we never see it. It would dull the enjoyment of any revenge movie.

Warner Bros. is treading Dashiell Hammett territory, the movie looks like the Cliffs Notes version of "The Glass Key." There's lots of big city corruption, but unlike the protagonist in "The Glass Key," William Powell is never in any danger.

Anything with Powell though is worth watching, it's just unusual to see him unable  to breathe little more motivation into this character.

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