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Friday, April 19, 2013

You And Me (1938)

An ex-convict (George Raft) trying to go the straight and narrow route marries a young salesclerk (Sylvia Sidney) who works in a department store with him. But she has her own secret and when he finds out, it sends him back to a criminal path. This odd little fable, directed by Fritz Lang, is quite unusual. Parts of it have a kitchen sink realism yet most of it is very stylized. It's obvious from the opening scene that this isn't going to be a straight forward romance about two young lovers struggling to find their place in the world. The film has three musical numbers courtesy of the great Kurt Weill (THE THREEPENNY OPERA) inserted into the film. One is a typical nightclub sequence where a chanteuse (Carol Paige) sings about The Right Guy For Me but then there's the Knocking Song in which ex-convicts talk their "lyrics" accompanied by rapping knuckles, tin cups, sirens and gunfire which is very reminiscent of the work he did with Bertolt Brecht. There's a certain daffy charm to it all with a batch of Runyonesque supporting characters. With Robert Cummings (even in a bit part, appallingly bad), Harry Carey, Barton MacLane, Joyce Compton, Guinn Williams and the appealing Warren Hymer (who effectively ended his career by drunkenly urinating on studio head Harry Cohn's desk).

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