Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lady Gangster (1942)

I did not buy this pack simply to get a copy of the 1932 version of Scarface, as I already owned that on DVD.  I did buy it hoping to find at least one other movie that was half as good, though.

Lady Gangster is not that movie.

It starts off promisingly enough, with a well-dressed and apparently respectable lady operating as a 'stool pigeon' for a group of bank robbers.  Their plan to get into the bank before it opens and rob the place relies an awful lot on luck and the lady's charm, but I'm willing to go with it.

Alas the plan doesn't seem all that well thought through in the post-robbery execution, and the cops aren't as dumb as they usually are in the movies.  They cotton on to the weaknesses in the story of this supposed 'innocent bystander' and she finds herself in custody.  The police only release her when a radio journalist - and old flame of hers - accepts responsibility for her.

Once released, the woman tricks her accomplices (who were planning to split without giving her a share of the loot) and gets all the money from the robbery.  She hides it for safe-keeping, and then - because old passions have been reignited - confesses to her former flame that she was involved in the robbery.

So he sends her to jail, because he's a morally upstanding sort of fellow, and it apparently doesn't occur to him to get her to cut a deal with the cops.

Once our heroine (I guess that's the right term, even if she is a bank robber) gets to jail, the movie's plausibility, already slight, is completely thrown out of the window.  There's a lot of bickering and double-crossing, a rather random moment of cross-dressing, and the least likely prison break this side of Prison Break before the rather rushed ending.

So ultimately, a bit of a disappointment, especially after the reasonably entertaining start.

By the way: if you've never seen it, make sure you track down the 1932 Scarface.  I'm a pretty big Brian De Palma fan and I still think the original is a far better film than his remake.

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