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Robinson Reads Riot Act


I Am The Law (1938) Calls For Swift Justice

Edward G. Robinson is here at crossroad between tough customers and character leads (or strong support) he'd play in a 40's decade to come. I Am The Law pleases for being precisely the Eddie we like, an intellect handy with fists when needed. As a law professor drafted to clean up rackets, he begins naive, then picks up street smarts at pace sufficient to make a blistering second half of ninety minutes. Columbia had being doing yearly quota of racket busting B's, so I Am The Law was mere increase of budget and care on ground they'd trod well. "Mister Big" in these situations was always charming and civilized, with often as not Otto Kruger embodying same, a good thing here as elsewhere for Kruger's capacity at shading what would be a stock character in lesser hands. Civic rights are pleasingly trampled, Eddie telling thugs in custody that he'll "beat their heads off" then and there (his words), and does just that. Charles Starrett couldn't have managed so good a slugfest as Robinson (and his double) engage here. The star had seen a slump by the mid-30's  alleviated by the hit that was Bullets Or Ballots for home-lot Warners, thus renewal of contract there and loan-out to Columbiafor I Am The Law. Robinson was not a little fed up with criminal work (both as participant and opponent of), but art collecting was a drug that had hooked him, so what vehicles were tendered, he took.


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Robinson Reads Riot Act

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