Sunday, April 11, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Gallant Sons (1940) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

A fine cast elevates GALLANT SONS (1940), a minor but enjoyable MGM murder mystery. It's available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

This "B" film is sort of a spin on MGM's Mickey-Judy "Let's put on a show!" movies, except it's "Let's solve a murder mystery by putting on a show!" Mickey and Judy's costar in a couple of films, June Preisser, is even along for the ride.

"Natural" Davis (Ian Hunter), who runs a high-class gambling establishment, is accused of murder, thanks in no small part to newspaper editor Barton Newbold (Minor Watson).

The two men's sons, Johnny (Gene Reynolds) and By (Jackie Cooper), who are best friends, become estranged when Johnny's father is convicted and sent off to prison.

Johnny goes to live with Clare (Gail Patrick), who loves Natural, and her daughter Kate (Bonita Granville). Eventually, Johnny and By reunite to work together to solve the crime, along with Kate and a group of their friends (Tommy Kelly, Leo Gorcey, William Tracy).

In just 76 minutes the intrepid young sleuths deduce the murderer and find a creative way to pressure his confession. The screenplay by Marion Parsonnet and William R. Lipman is fun, and the cast is engaging. Cooper, Reynolds, and Granville were three of Hollywood's best young actors, and they make the most of the material.

I love the elegant Gail Patrick, who's warm and appealing here, and I've always had a soft spot for Ian Hunter. Hunter played King Richard in my beloved THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) and was good in a number of Kay Francis films; I most recently reviewed him in CALL IT A DAY (1937). I feel he's a somewhat overlooked actor, not major star material yet always attractive and dependable -- one of the faces which helps make classic Hollywood films so enjoyable.

GALLANT SONS was directed by George B. Seitz. It was filmed by Sidney Wagner and the uncredited George J. Folsey.

GALLANT SONS was first released by the Warner Archive Collection in 2012, but as their DVDs are manufactured on demand, it remains as easily available today as the year it was first issued.

The disc has a solid print and sound quality. The lone extra on the DVD is 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 any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.


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