Monday, June 29, 2015

Two Against the World (1932)

Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM, TCM is running a 1932 movie called Two Against the World that sounds awfully familiar.

The first thing to recognize is that there was a completely different movie made four years later also called Two Against the World, although that one has been renamed One Fatal Hour, presumably when it came to syndicating these old movies for the late late show in the 1950s. One Fatal Hour is a remake of a 1931 movie called Five Star Final, both of which are well worth watching.

What makes tomorrow's Two Against the World sound awfully familiar is the plot. Constance Bennett plays a wanton socialite in love with attorney Neil Hamilton. Unfortunately, Bennett's brother gets mixed up in a murder, and Bennett does what she can to protect him. That is, until Hamilton has to put her on the stand. It's a movie I may have seen, but I'm not certain because this is a plot device that's been done several times.

One that comes to mind is The Unguarded Hour, which has Loretta Young as a woman who saw an accidental death in which a man is being unjustly prosecuted -- by Young's husband. Young could get the guy off, except the reason she was a witness is because she was there to pay off a man who was going to blackmail her husband.

Alternately, there's Evelyn Prentice. This one has Myrna Loy killing the blackmailer, except that the blackmailer is trying to blackmail her. And here, the husband (William Powell) isn't the prosecutor, but the defense attorney.

Don't get me started on all the versions of Madame X.

Finally, Constance Bennett's sister Joan had a similar role in The Reckless Moment, which has Joan protecting her daughter from blackmailers.

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