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While ambitious small-time hood Rico makes a name for himself in the underworld, his buddy Joe decides to leave the life of crime and ventures into show business, where he meets the lovely dancer Olga. When Rico orders Joe to leave his mistress, she takes a serious decision.
LeRoy's coldly efficient direction-due less to his own artistry than to the constraints of sound recording in its first years-imposes a static rigor on the action and lends the actor's diction and gestures a sculptural, granitic force.
The production is ordinary and would rank as just one more gangster film but for two things. One is the excellence of Mr. Burnett's credible and compact story. The other is Edward G. Robinson's wonderfully effective performance.