Warner Bros. Pictures presents "BROTHER ORCHID" (1940) (88 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern, Humphrey Bogart, Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy, Allen Jenkins, Charles D. Brown & Cecil Kellaway
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
While set in a film-noir world, Brother Orchid is an enchanting lesson about how the simple things in life are the best. Robinson plays a gangster chief who quits the mob to undertake a long and financially ruinous Grand Tour of Europe. Returning to the U.S. he is astounded to discover that he can't pick up the reins he once held firmly and that his former under boss, Bogart, wants him out of the way - permanently. Bogart's talent is not very much on display in this movie.
Ann Sothern is terrific as Robinson's "fiancée," a gang moll waiting long and patiently for the march to the altar. Ralph Bellamy is amusing as a Western rancher who exudes a patience and understanding more often associated with saints than cowboys. Ann Sothern as Edward G's girlfriend steals the film in whatever scene she's in.
As Robinson remarks in the final scene, "I always thought class came with having the right clothes or the right car. But this--this is the REAL class!"
Robinson and Bogart made a total of five films together, with Robinson getting top billing in all but 1948's "Key Largo". The others include "Bullets or Ballots" (1936), "Kid Galahad" (1937), and "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938). "Brother Orchid" was the only film in which Ann Sothern appeared with either Bogey or Robinson. For fans of any of these actors, or of classic films of the 1930's and 40's, all of the above films are highly recommended.
BIOS: 1. Lloyd Bacon [aka: Lloyd Francis Bacon] Date of Birth: 4 December 1889 - San Jose, California Date of Death: 15 November 1955 - Burbank, California
2. Edward G. Robinson [aka: Emmanuel Goldenberg] Date of Birth: 12 December 1893 - Bucharest, Romania Date of Death: 26 January 1973 - Hollywood, California
3. Ann Sothern [aka: Harriette Arlene Lake] Date of Birth: 22 January 1909 - Valley City, North Dakota Date of Death: 15 March 2001 - Ketchum, Idaho
4. Humphrey Bogart Date of Birth: 25 December 1899 - New York City, New York Date of Death: 14 January 1957 - Los Angeles, California
Mr. Jim's Ratings: Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars Performance: 5 Stars Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 88 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (03/25/2008)
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