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Sergeant Madden

Sergeant Madden(1939)

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  • sergeant madden

    • kevin sellers
    • 9/25/17

    Interesting late film from the great Josef Von Sternberg about the troubles of a blue collar, NYC Irish family, the father and younger son of which are corrupt cops, albeit in radically different ways; the father a beat patrolman who is a little too cozy with the local gangster and the son a trigger happy, violent officer, a type that is alas still with the NYPD (and many other departments) today. The film is directed by Von Sternberg with grim, brutal intensity, mostly at night and mostly in dingy, industrial, or lower middle class street locations, in a style that is more reminiscent of Fritz Lang's American noirs than this director's more exotic, early 30s offerings like "Shanghai Express" or "Blue Angel." If it had more family conflict and less hackneyed gangland melodrama involving two timing floozies and frame ups, and if Von Sternberg had managed to elicit better performances from Tom Brown (an actor as dull as his name) as the eldest, adopted son and Larraine Day as the adopted daughter this could have been a very good film indeed. As it is let's give it a B minus, mostly for Von Sternberg's tragic , moody camera and the fine performances of Wallace Beery (despite an Irish accent that veers off into Teutonic) and Alan Curtis as his rotten kid.

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