Review: ‘Manpower’

There's plenty of rough and rowdy action and dialog in this melodrama, premised on the triangle formula.

There’s plenty of rough and rowdy action and dialog in this melodrama, premised on the triangle formula.

Zestful direction of Raoul Walsh cannot be discounted here. He keeps things moving at a fast clip and displays the individual talents of Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich and George Raft to utmost advantage.

Story tells of the adventures of a construction and maintenance crew for power lines. Raft and Robinson are buddies in the outfit, and when Robinson is burned by a high tension wire he’s made foreman of the gang. Dietrich is the daughter of crew-member Egon Brecher, getting parole from a year’s stretch in prison. She works in a clip joint, and enacts the role to perfection. Raft tabs her immediately, but Robinson falls in love with her for quick marriage.

First third of the picture displays racy action and spicy dialog for maximum attention, and then drifts into formula triangle dramatics. Robinson delivers a vivid portrayal as the foreman-lineman who manhandles the gals too fast until he meets Dietrich. Latter provides a stereotyped performance as the clip-joint inmate, and sings one song chorus throatily.



Warner. Director Raoul Walsh; Producer Mark Hellinger; Screenplay Richard Macauley, Jerry Wald; Camera Ernest Haller; Editor Ralph Dawson; Music Adolph Deutsch


(B&W) Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 100 MIN.


Edward G. Robinson Marlene Dietrich George Raft Alan Hale Frank McHugh Eve Arden
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