Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Unholy Partners (1941) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Edward G. Robinson stars as a tabloid publisher in business with a mobster in UNHOLY PARTNERS (1941), just released by the Warner Archive.

The mobster is played by Edward Arnold, who backs Robinson's newspaper venture as a silent partner. However, the men increasingly find themselves in conflict, ultimately leading to a violent showdown.

UNHOLY PARTNERS is a pretty good drama thanks to a strong cast and a brisk script, with the film running 94 minutes. With Robinson and Arnold headlining, the film is inevitably interesting to watch, and they're surrounded by a number of interesting faces.

Like BLACKMAIL (1939), reviewed here last week, UNHOLY PARTNERS was made by MGM and features some of that studio's notable players. Laraine Day plays Robinson's loyal Gal Friday, while one of her Dr. Kildare series costars, Walter Kingsford, plays the publisher of the paper Robinson initially comes home to after WWI. Frank Orth of the Kildare movies pops in even more briefly.

Marsha Hunt plays an aspiring singer who's spending time with Arnold -- possibly reluctantly -- while future TV producer William T. Orr is Robinson's righthand man. Hunt and Orr develop a cute relationship, and Hunt also gets the chance to sing "After You've Gone."

Miss Hunt will be 99 in October. I've been privileged to hear her speak a few times, and even better, I had the chance to sit at her table at a reception last fall. She is a simply lovely, positive person with a wealth of fascinating stories to share, beautiful inside and out.

Side note, the women's hair and clothing styles don't seem to fit the 1920s setting!

The cast also includes Don Beddoe, who is billed more prominently than usual and has a nice big part as one of Robinson's key employees. Charles Halton, Charles Dingle, Emory Parnell, and Frank Faylen round out the cast.

UNHOLY PARTNERS was directed by Mervyn LeRoy. It was filmed in black and white by George Barnes.

There is a noticeable streak in the picture in a couple of early scenes, but otherwise it's a good print. The DVD includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


Blogger Biograph Consulting said...

Didn't you think this Robinson film was a little "soft" around the edges; MGM had to add some fairly tepid romantic material to the mix, and because of that I thought the dynamic between Robinson as the crusader and Edward Arnold as the corrupt mob boss lacked the zip and inherent power found in the Warners Product. The ending, too, seemed a bit cursory, as if the bigwigs in the front office feared some sort of censorship if they let EGR off the hook or allowed him to pursue what seems to be the logical thing to do if he really was in love with Day.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Belatedly catching up on comments! I don't know, MGM films definitely have a different feel from WB, but I appreciate each of the studio's styles, both the grittier WB films and the more glamorous movies from MGM. It's not a perfect film but I really enjoyed the cast, especially faves Hunt and Day.

Appreciated you sharing your take on the film!

Best wishes,

6:31 PM  

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