Watch Probation

  • 1932
  • 1 hr 7 min
  • 5.4  (86)

Probation is a 1932 American Pre-Code crime drama directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Sally Blane, John Darrow, and J. Farrell MacDonald. The movie follows the story of Joan Barry (Sally Blane), a parole officer who confronts the challenges and setbacks of helping parolees transition back to society. The movie is set during the height of the Great Depression, and as a result, the parolees seek comfort in petty crimes that put them back in jail. The movie highlights the issue of the penal and judicial systems in the United States during the era.

Joan, who is motivated by her desire to help, begins to understand the root causes of the parolee's behavior. She tries to offer them guidance, counseling, and job placement opportunities, but they continually fall into the trap of recidivism. Joan becomes disheartened but is later inspired by the successes of paroled offender Eddie Allen (John Darrow), who is determined to get his life back on track.

Eddie is a talented artist but has been in and out of jail for years. Joan takes Eddie under her wing and tries to help him get his life together. She offers him a job and helps him secure a place to stay. However, Eddie finds it difficult to stay on the right path when his past keeps creeping up on him. Eddie's former criminal associates put his loyalty to the test by involving him in a payroll robbery. The robbery goes wrong, and Eddie gets arrested. Joan is left to fight for Eddie's innocence and tries to keep him from falling back into his old ways.

As the plot progresses, a romantic angle is thrown in between Joan and Eddie, adding tension to the already complicated plot. Their interactions are well acted, and their chemistry is palpable. The plot is relatively straightforward, and the pacing is adequate as the film tries to address the issue of recidivism, a prevalent issue during the Great Depression.

The film's message is clear, showing the hardships of rehabilitating offenders and the cycle of crime and violence that plagued American society at the time. The movie's plot offers a glimpse into the harsh realities of those who suffered from poverty, inequality, and limited opportunities that sparked societal unrest during the time. The film is also an important historical artifact, capturing a moment in time in American history when crime, corruption, and economic turmoil were rampant.

The movie's directing, screenwriting, and acting are all top-notch, creating a genuine and compelling viewing experience that captures the essence of early Depression-era America. Sally Blane's performance as Joan Barry is remarkable and emotive, conveying the compassion and strength required to help the parolees succeed. John Darrow, on the other hand, embodies the hardened parolee, exuding the pain and the struggles of his former life while trying to escape it.

Joseph August, the movie's cinematographer, provides a vivid and somber depiction of the American urban landscapes of the time, evoking the malaise permeating the country. The film's realism is reinforced through the use of real locations, providing insight into Depression-era America's lived experiences.

Probation is not a perfect movie, but it is a solid crime drama that effectively portrays the allure of a life of wealth and power through the criminal underworld. The film shows the realities of the choices made when opportunities and life chances are limited, and redemption seems unattainable. Even though the movie is over eighty years old, it has stood the test of time, continuing to shed light on the issue of recidivism, poverty, and inequality in society.

Overall, Probation is an excellent movie that provides a raw and realistic portrayal of a complex issue that continues to plague society to date. The film's cast, direction, and cinematography all contribute to making the movie a masterpiece of early crime dramas. The attention to detail, the realism, and the pacing all create a compelling viewing experience that is sure to resonate with viewers. Probation is an important movie that should be examined by all those who believe in the transformative potential of our justice system.

Probation is a 1932 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 7 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4.

Where to Watch Probation
Probation is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Probation for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 7 min
  • IMDB Rating
    5.4  (86)