(director: Sam Wood; screenwriters: Howard Emmett Rogers/from the story by James Edward Grant; cinematographer: James Wong Howe; editor: Basil Wragill; music: Dr. William Axt; cast: Myrna Loy (Vivian Palmer), Spencer Tracy (Ross McBride), George Renevent (Monetta), Don Rowan (Curley), Paul Stanton (Chief Hughes), Harvey Stephens (Ed Dexter), William Harrigan (Doc Evans), Clay Clement (Harry Ames), Robert Gleckler (Steve Arnold), Robert Warwick (Wadsworth), John Qualen (Dabson), Lillian Leighton (Aunt Jane), William Ingersoll (doctor); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harrry Rapf; MGM; 1935)

A fairly entertaining romantic crime thriller even if not a gem.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A snappy B-film crime drama that gets over its unconvincing script because of the powerful star performances by Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy. Sam Wood (“Ambush”/”The Pride of the Yankees”) adequately directs. It’s based on the Liberty magazine story by James Edward Grant and the over-baked screenplay is by Howard Emmett Rogers. American gem thieves Ed Dexter (Harvey Stephens), Harry Ames (Clay Clement ) and Vivian Palmer (Myrna Loy) are in London and scheme to rob the recently bought valuable Koronoff pearlsfrom the American collector Wadsworth (Robert Warwick). When a rival gang of thieves led by the ruthless Doc Evans (William Harrigan) try to muscle in as partners, Dexter rats them out for being on Wadsworth’s ocean liner to America and they are arrested. In NYC Dexter and Ames pull off a switch at the custom station and steal the pearls right from under heavy security. Dexter, unknown to Palmer, hides the pearls in her large hand mirror, so she would take the rap if caught. When the authorities suspect Palmer, NYC stationed G-man Ross McBride (Spencer Tracy) is assigned to go along with her. He wins her over after posing as a tough guy ex-con named Ackerman. At least he thinks he has fooled her, but she knows he’s a copper from the get-go and figures it’s better to go along with his disguise. While Dexter and Ames wait for her in New Orleans, Doc’s henchman Steve Arnold (Robert Gleckler) follows the pair cross-country. When the odd couple embark from a plane in Kansas City, they try to lose the hoods tailing them but can’t. While driving in a rainstorm at might in rural Missouri, the odd couple get off the impassable road and stay in the farmhouse of Dabson (John Qualen). In the emergency labor of the farmer’s wife, Ross gets a doctor to deliver twins. By this time Ross and Palmer have fallen for each other, and things get tense when both gangs confront the couple in the farmhouse and later in a shootout at a diner.. If you don’t mind all the holes in the story, this is a fairly entertaining romantic crime thriller even if not a gem.

Whipsaw Poster