Monday, February 4, 2013

The Secret Six

MGM crime drama from 1931.  Story: Factory worker (Wallace Beery) works his way to the top of a gang.

-Viewed on 1/17/2013 (Sovereign premeire)
-Usually when you think of 30s gangster films, you think of Warner Brothers, but this one came out of usually glossier MGM.
-Beery runs circles around the rest of the cast.  This was made the same year as The Champ, the film for which he won the Best Actor Oscar.
-The cast is impressive, but young.  It's an early credit for Jean Harlow and Clark Gable and Ralph Bellamy's first film.
-Thanks to this film, Gable was given a contract at MGM.
-Johnny Mack Brown, who plays a reporter and Harlow's love interest, later became well known as a star of Westerns in the Forties.
-The Secret 6 of the title refers to 6 men from various government agencies who join forces to find any charge that will stick to the criminals.  A real-life Secret 6 was responsible for having Al Capone convicted of tax evasion.  But I still don't know why the 6 men had to done masks whenever they met.
-Beery brings lots of humor to the role of Scorpio.  In the silent era, Beery would often play the heavy in the comedys with the likes of Buster Keaton and Raymond Griffith.

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