For Reel


Sailor’s Luck (1933)
May 16, 2011, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Raoul Walsh

I was fortunate enough to attend a Dave Kehr hosted screening of this Pre-Code Raoul Walsh film, long unavailable even in bootleg form. An appropriate comparison can be made to Walsh’s slightly more accessible film that preceded it, Me and My Gal (1932), which also incorporates the same racial stereotypes and even features Will Stanton in another drunken performance. Kehr qualifies Walsh as a director who took advantage of depth in that the background action of his films can often be just as interesting as the foreground – and, indeed, like Me and My Gal, each frame is satisfyingly full of movement, not only adding to the visual interest but also more effectively realizing a living, breathing world. As a Pre-Code film, there are the expected blunt allusions to sex, but more unexpected is a character giving the middle finger to a negligent cab driver and a final fight sequence in which mobsters are pitted against sailors in a surprisingly violent spectacle – close-ups of men’s faces getting stomped on, chairs being broken and thrown, and so on.


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