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The Crusader1932

  • 3.0
A woman is facing the electric chair for murder. Was it a crime of passion? Or was she "defending her honor" against a playboy heel who'd hoped to blackmail her District Attorney brother on behalf of some gangsters? Flashbacks eventually reveal what really happened in this pre-Code melodrama. It was the start of a long slide from fame for top-billed Evelyn Brent, a big Paramount star in the late 1920s (her credits including two pre-Marlene Dietrich Josef von Sternberg classics, UNDERWORLD and THE LAST COMMAND) whose fortunes progressively fell in the "talkie" era. Playing her husband is H.B. Warner, who five years earlier took the title role as Cecil B. DeMille's KING OF KINGS (aka Jesus Christ). But the scene-stealer here is Ned Sparks, a dyspeptic character actor whose sourpuss face and voice invariably got him cast as a comic wiseguy. Here he gets one of his biggest roles as a cynical reporter who'll use any underhanded means to "get the story" (even if it makes him the least popular guy in town). - Dennis Harvey

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