Last Gangster, The (1937)

“He is the kind of boy you really hoped for — isn’t he, Joe?”

Synopsis:
A gangster (Edward G. Robinson) whose newly immigrated wife (Rose Stradner) knows nothing about his criminal life is infuriated when she refuses to bring their new son to visit him in prison. Stradner marries a kind journalist (Jimmy Stewart) and “Junior” (Douglas Scott) grows up believing Stewart is his dad — but Robinson, with support from his former associate (Lionel Stander), is determined to seek revenge on his former wife, and Junior soon finds his life in danger.

Genres:

Review:
Edward G. Robinson is suitably edgy yet sympathetic as an Al Capone-esque mob boss in this (yes, you guessed it) gangster flick, primarily notable for featuring Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Austrian wife Rose Stradner in one of just three films she made in Hollywood, and Stewart sporting a mustache in a pre-stardom role. Stradner — whose life ended tragically when she was just 45 — has a lovely screen presence, and Scott is refreshingly non-obnoxious as a young boy who refers to his adoptive father as “Dads” (!). The storyline goes in some unexpected directions, and the film is atmospherically shot (the tear gas scene during a prison riot is especially chilling); however, this one is only must-see viewing for Robinson fans.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Edward G. Robinson as Joe Krozac
  • Rose Stradner as Talya Krozac
  • Atmospheric cinematography

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.

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One Response to “Last Gangster, The (1937)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Robinson did this kind of role well – but he did a few too many of them (which, I imagine, may even have irked him at some point). Here he gets to say such typical Edward G. lines as “I ain’t goin’ to no federal pen! There isn’t one *big* enough to hold Joe Krozac!” ~Yeah!, see?!

    The film is slightly distinguished by Stradner’s realization that Robinson isn’t the man she thought she married… and by the awkward but touching reunion Robinson has with his son. But, yes, overall it’s mostly Robinson fans who will seek this one out.

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