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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

A still from Outside the Law (1930)

Outside the Law

1930 | United States | 79 min
  • Watched on Fri Jan 1, 2021 via VHS-rip
    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Starts strong, with gangster Robinson noticing crook Moore’s presence in town. Robinson shakes down Moore, demanding half of any job he’s planning to pull. Robinson also takes an interest in Moore’s moll, played by Nolan.

    A nice gangster picture setup, but then Robinson disappears and the film shifts to melodrama. Nolan and Moore hole up in an apartment where Moore befriends the dopey toddler next-door. Nolan wants nothing to do with kids, driving a wedge between her and Moore. Robinson turns up for the finale, but it’s too little, too late.

    How did Nolan rate top billing over Robinson? His scenes crackle with his trademark delivery, while she struggles early to convey what Robinson and Moore see in her. She’s better later, when things have soured between her and Moore and we’re supposed to dislike her for not wanting children. But the kid next door was cloying enough to scare anyone off having kids, so I don’t blame her.

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