Review: ‘The Great O’Malley’

One of Hollywood's pat formulas for cop pictures, but with less action than usual. Studio gives Humphrey Bogart his initial star billing with this film, apparently a reward for his work in Black Legion. His running mate here is Pat O'Brien. No fault of either that this film shoots wide of its mark. A plot [by Gerald Beaumont] that has been redone much too much is the chief drawback.

One of Hollywood’s pat formulas for cop pictures, but with less action than usual. Studio gives Humphrey Bogart his initial star billing with this film, apparently a reward for his work in Black Legion. His running mate here is Pat O’Brien. No fault of either that this film shoots wide of its mark. A plot [by Gerald Beaumont] that has been redone much too much is the chief drawback.

It is the tough hibernian policeman theme, with plenty of brogue, and the eventual softening of the copper when a kid creeps into his heart. In this instance the tot is Sybil Jason, who delivers as a crippled slum-child. It’s her father (Bogart), whom O’Brien forces into criminal activities and later tries to befriend, after first getting a famous surgeon to straighten out the kid’s leg.

William Dieterle has made a valiant attempt to overcome the screenplay’s weaknesses in his direction, but no could do. There’s practically no action for the first 40 minutes, and subsequent footage hardly is in the very exciting class. If anything, picture depends almost wholly on the appeal of moppet Jason

The Great O'Malley

Production

Warner. Director William Dieterle; Producer Harry Joe Brown; Screenplay Milton Krims, Tom Reed; Camera Ernest Haller; Editor Warren Low; Art Director Hugh Reticker

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1937. Running time: 71 MIN.

With

Pat O'Brien Sybil Jason Humphrey Bogart Frieda Inescort Ann Sheridan Donald Crisp
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