Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Business of Making Blood Money (1933)


I'm not sure if there's a traceable connection between the bleakness of 1933 for most Americans in the Great Depression and the cynicism that poured from movie screens in that year, but I'm willing to bet that audiences who warmed to such deep dish pre-code fare as Baby Face, Bombshell, I'm No Angel and Employee's Entrance probably didn't bat an eye when presented with the rawness of Blood Money, a movie that I came across last week for the first time.

Blood Money (1933) was a distinctly unwholesome, yet compelling movie that was never on my radar, so it was a bit of a surprise to stumble across this 65 minute trip through an entertainingly sordid world peopled with characters for whom the word "raffish" might be too refined. Made at Twentieth Century Productions a little over a year before their merger with Fox Studios in 1935, the film went ahead in the first year of Darryl Zanuck's stewardship of the studio. It was one of the movies that seems to reflect the young mogul's brashly iconoclastic Warner Brothers' roots. Featuring themes centered around an exploitive relationship between the corrupt rich and the underworld, the symbiotic ties between criminals and police, loyalty among thieves that was often more reliable than conventional morality, shifting gender roles, and the stranger fruits of human desire, it is far less known than other crime films of that same period, such as Little Caesar and Public Enemy...more on Movie Morlocks at TCM

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