Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Black Sheep

1935, US, directed by Allan Dwan

A nifty ship-board film centered on a bunch of card sharps and hustlers, Black Sheep features an engaging early appearance from Claire Trevor. She gives considerable depth and nuance to what might have been a throwaway role in support of Edmund Lowe, whose subsequent career was nothing like as interesting as Trevor's. They make a terrific pair here, deploying their dialog with plenty of crackle. The support cast, as so often in classic Hollywood, is eye-catching in its own right, whether in the form of gravel-voiced Eugene Pallette, Tom Brown (as fresh-faced here as in Judge Priest and Hell's Highway), or Herbert Mundin as a recurring drunken joke, and the resolution is poetically satisfying, particularly for those rooting against the aristocrats.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States