For Reel

Pursuit (1935)
April 13, 2015, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Edwin L. Marin
3 Stars
PursuitThis briskly-paced programmer packs an impressive number of action sequences into its hour running time. Chester Morris stars as an aviator who is given the task of transporting a child (Scotty Beckett) to Mexico so that his mother won’t lose the custody battle. He’s accompanied by a child protective agent played by Sally Eilers, who initially despises him before their mutual affection grows (they begin their adventure handcuffed together!). Director Edwin L. Marin ably handles the suspense of his action scenes, especially an early one in which Morris chases and eventually leaps onto a runaway plane to save a child. The cutting between the long-shots of the plane, Morris’ heroic stunt, and the child in fear shows a Griffithian eye for how to stage and edit a suspense scene. Beyond such excitements, what makes the film really work is the chemistry between the underrated stars. Their bantering on country roads reminds one of It Happened One Night, and Eilers in particular is up to the task of inviting such a weighty comparison. The child at the center of it all, on the other hand, is a weakness–he seems like an afterthought for most of the picture, and only tends to be used to create problems for the couple to solve.

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