Story structure [from the novel by Jerome Odlum] is a bit thin in spots despite the best efforts of director William Keighley, who isn’t always able to cover up. The loyalty theme and seeming double-cross motive becomes too involved just when the plot appears heading for a clever climax.
Cagney is kept in typical toughie surroundings, framed by unscrupulous politicians because he has uncovered their crooked work for his newspaper. Embittered by his inability to win a pardon, Cagney is pictured as developing into a hardened prisoner. Then when he helps an underworld big shot (George Raft) go scot free in a daring courtroom break, only to be double-crossed when the big-timer thinks Raft has squealed, the reporter goes haywire.
Cagney fans will be pleasantly surprised at his restrained, skillful performance. Raft is a plausible, gripping underworld big-timer. He rates the co-starring classification.