The Beast of the City

Watch The Beast of the City

"Human lives are offered up daily to the Beast of the City Jungle, so that scented, silken-clad women can enjoy the forbidden thrills of a modern Babylon! See this heart-wrenching drama!"
  • Passed
  • 1932
  • 1 hr 26 min
  • 6.7  (1,406)

In the early 1930s, Warner Bros. produced a gritty and thrilling drama known as The Beast of the City. The film starred Walter Huston, Jean Harlow, and Wallace Ford and was directed by Charles Brabin. The movie edgily and unconsciously captures the rising wave of gangsterism that consumed America in the early 20th century. The film takes place in a bustling city which is being taken over by ruthless criminals. Walter Huston stars as Police Captain Jim Fitzpatrick who is determined to uncover the gang responsible for much of the violent crime rampant in the city. Fitzpatrick is a tough, no-nonsense kind of person and is respected by colleagues and enemies alike. His methods of enforcing law and order are forceful and confrontational, but also inspiring as he leads his team towards the truth.

Jean Harlow plays Ruby, a brazen gun moll who is in love with one of the members of the vicious gang. Although Ruby initially appears uninterested in cooperation with law enforcement, she ultimately becomes an unlikely ally to Fitzpatrick in the effort to take down the criminal mastermind behind it all. Harlow brings just the right amount of glamour and sass with her stunning wardrobe and beautifully styled hair in what is a gritty, masculine context.

Wallace Ford portrays Ed, one of Fitzpatrick's squad, who becomes increasingly disillusioned by the poisonous atmosphere of violence and corruption within the precinct. His honesty and moral compass set him apart from his fellow officers and he becomes the audience's window into what is really going on in the mind of the law on the margins.

The cinematography of The Beast of the City is striking and reminiscent of other gangster films of the era. The editing is fast-paced, and the camera is constantly in motion, following the characters and their actions. Additionally, the use of shadows and lighting is masterful in emphasizing the film's overall gritty and feverish tone.

One of the standout scenes of the movie is when Fitzpatrick confronts a local gang leader named Sam Belmonte about his crimes. Belmonte is played by Jean Hersholt who gives a powerful and chilling performance. The scene shows Fitzpatrick's determination to take down the criminal underworld and Hersholt's arrogance and nihilism.

The film is a time capsule of the era in which it was made with its elaborate sets depicting the bustling city, lively dance halls with jazz music, and the tension between the working class and the police force trying to maintain law and order.

To summarize, The Beast of the City is a gripping take on early 1930s gangster cinema. It is a moody and raw depiction of the time's harsh realities of crime and corruption. The film is further enhanced by outstanding performances from the lead cast members Walter Huston, Jean Harlow, and Wallace Ford, along with excellent cinematography and editing.

The Beast of the City is a 1932 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 26 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.

The Beast of the City
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 26 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (1,406)