(director: Archie Mayo; screenwriters: Kathyrn Scola/Vincent Lawrence/from the story “Single Night” by Louis Bromfield; cinematographer: Ernest Haller; cast: George Raft (Joe Anton), Constance Cummings (Jerry Healy), Wynne Gibson (Iris Dawn), Mae West (Maudie Triplett), Roscoe Karns (Leo), Alison Skipworth (Mrs. Mabel Jellyman), Louis Calhern(Dick Bolton), Al Hill (Frank Blainey), Harry Wallace (Jerky), Dink Templeton (Patsy), Bradley Page (Frankie’s Guard),Marty Martyn (Malloy), Tom Kennedy (Tom, bartender); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William LeBaron; Universal; 1932)

Stiff George Raft gangster drama.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Archie Mayo (“The Mayor of Hell”/”Bordertown”/”A Night in Casablanca”)directs this stiff George Raft gangster drama that’s based on the story “Single Night” by Louis Bromfield. It’s written by Kathyrn Scols and Vincent Lawrence.

Joe Anton (George Raft), ex-boxer, worked himself up from the bottom to become the wealthy owner of a Park Ave. speakeasy called the “55.” The mug now wants to learn how to act with class and hires Mrs. Mabel Jellyman (Alison Skipworth) to tutor him in proper speech and culture. Meanwhile Joe, in his aim for respectability, rejects his intensely jealous gun moll girlfriend Iris Dawn (Wynne Gibson) in favor of a classy Park Avenue socialite, Jerry Healy (Constance Cummings), who visits his speakeasy to bring back memories of when she lived here before the Wall Street crash forced her family out.

It’s a bore until the 40 minute mark when Mae West, in her film debut, enters as the coarse but animated loose-living Maudie Triplett, Joe’s former girlfriend, who crashes his dinner-date with Jerry and brings some life to the party. Too bad she had such a minor role and so little screentime, but she stole every scene she was in. Mae’s best joke has her respond to someone’s question of “Do you believe in love at first sight? Mae responds: “I don’t know, but it saves a lot of time.”