Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.
Josef von Sternberg does well here with his adaptation of Ben Hecht's gangster thriller. George Bancroft is "Bull Weed", a rumbustious character, in love with the aptly monikered "Feathers" - because she wears them everywhere - Evelyn Brent. His former attorney, the dapper "Rolls Royce Wensel" (Clive Brook) has problems with the bottle, but "Weed" manages to ween him off - only for the latter to fall in love with his gal. When "Weed" is finally apprehended by the police for murder, and sentenced to swing for it - the others must decide whether to abscond together, or to try to spring him! "Bull", meantime has plans for revenge of his own - and this all builds to an exciting denouement. There's a lot packed into this film. The love-triangle theme gradually underpins the story, but the romance doesn't overwhelm it - it's still a gangster movie with just the tiniest hint of menace from an engaging Bancroft, and quite bit of on-screen chemistry between the three. As you'd expect, the photography is pristine. Though maybe just a few too many static shots for me that slow the pace a bit, the story is well constructed and the last ten minutes are super.