Friday, October 17, 2014

Tonight's Movie: We're Only Human (1935)

WE'RE ONLY HUMAN (1935) is an imperfect yet engaging little movie about a headstrong cop and a lady reporter.

Preston Foster plays Det. Sgt. Pete McCaffrey, who thrills reporter Sally Rogers (Jane Wyatt) when she sees him take down and arrest a mobster. The only problem is that the police feel Pete's heroism was misplaced; the premature arrest is preventing them from tracking the rest of the gang.

This seems to be the story of Pete's life, as he doesn't always think things through and too often acts without calling in reinforcements. Witness the bank robbery interrupted by Pete and his partner Danny (James Gleason); unfortunately Pete is on suspension at the time and doesn't have a gun, which has disastrous consequences. Danny should have called for backup!

That said, it's great fun to realize the robber Pete takes down is Ward Bond. That's the kind of thing that makes a little movie of this era so much fun.

Handsome Pete and bright-eyed Sally are immediately attracted to one another; indeed, the very first time they go to dinner he asks her "Want to be my girl?" Sally shows repeatedly that she cares for Pete, yet she is exasperated at times by his temperament and -- despite his impulsive request for a certain commitment -- a lack of romance. The movie chronicles Pete's gradual maturation, finally earning his first kiss from Sally in the very last shot of the movie.

Foster and Wyatt are well-teamed and both very appealing in this; indeed, Wyatt was so young, about 24 or 25, that she hadn't even made LOST HORIZON (1937) yet. As for Foster, I've been a fan since seeing THE HUNTED (1948) and DOUBLE DANGER (1938). He's been way overlooked as a leading man; when he had the chance to be the hero, rather than a villain or other supporting role, he was just terrific.

The movie and the characters themselves suffer from a certain lack of common sense; for instance, one can see the potential problem coming a mile away when Sally publishes information identifying the witness to a mob hit! That said, such problems do serve to illustrate the movie's title.

I happened across the original New York Times review and thought it was about right: "...better-than-average physical production and with several interesting players...a merry pace...succeeds in sustaining interest."

WE'RE ONLY HUMAN was directed by James Flood and runs 69 minutes. It was filmed by J. Roy Hunt. The supporting cast includes Moroni Olsen, Jane Darwell, Mischa Auer, Arthur Hohl, and Delmar Watson. Small roles are played by Hattie McDaniel, Pat O'Malley, and Harold Huber.

WE'RE ONLY HUMAN has been shown on Turner Classic Movies. At this writing it has not had a release on DVD or VHS.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One I've never heard of. I too like Preston Foster. This sounds worth seeking out.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm always glad to hear from another Preston Foster fan! :) Hope you can catch it, Vienna!

Best wishes,

9:00 AM  

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