Fritz Lang’s You and Me is a curious cinematic adventure. Basically, it’s boy-meets-girl [from an original story by Norman Krasna]. There’s quite a bit of Rene Clair in You and Me. Lang tries to blend dramatic music with melodramatic action more than heretofore. It’s a sort of cinematic Mercury theatre, by way of Marc Blitzstein-Orson Welles, with European flavoring, also.
Opening montages dramatically discourse, in Kurt Weill music with Sam Coslow’s lyrics, that ‘You Can’t Get Something for Nothing’ and that ‘you’ve got to pay for it’. The montage shots of jewels, perfumes, travelog impressions or epicurean delicacies visually illustrate the premise.
Then it pans into Morris’ department store which Harry Carey, as Morris, runs on a re- habilitation basis. Some 50 of his 2,500 employees are ex-convicts, out on parole, getting their comeback chance from Morris. George Raft is one, and finally his parole is clear; he may even marry. He does. Sylvia Sidney is the girl. She too is a paroled penitentiary inmate, but Raft never knew that.
Raft’s performance manifests a yen for restraint that’s almost too restrained. It’s a stoicism that doesn’t quite jibe with the rest of it. Sidney’s performance is competent in its earnestness to shield her past and not shatter the real amorous spark.