Two Against the World (1932)

  • Adele (Constance Bennett) belongs to the rich Hamilton family, which is being sued by the family of a workman who died while working on one of their properties.
  • Neil Hamilton (ha – Hamilton – I wonder what made them think of him for this film!) plays David Norton, the lawyer representing the deceased workman’s family. He immediately takes a shine to Adele, who he meets in an elevator.
  • Dave & Adele go on a lunch date to a favorite restaurant of Dave’s – The Coffee Mug, which is renowned for its…beans.

(No – not its coffee beans – but for the baked, eating kind.) (This makes absolutely no sense, so I kind of love it.)

  • The actors playing the Hamiltons nail the family dynamic right off the bat, in the boardroom scene. Bravo!
  • The sparkly hat Dell (the name Adele goes by) wears when she visits Dave at his office is to die for.
  • While she’s there, she meets Mrs. Polansky (Louise Carter), the workman’s widow – and Dell decides she’ll give her $100 every week until the trial starts, so Mrs. Polansky can feed her children. How sweet!
  • For their next lunch date, they visit a place of Dell’s choosing, which Dave does not like…until Dell special orders beans & ketchup for the two of them (an order the fancypants waiters are absolutely bewildered by).
  • Victor Linley (Gavin Gordon) is pseudo-pursuing Adele…but secretly he is having an affair with Adele’s married sister Corinne (Helen Vinson). Scandalous!
  • Bob (the Hamilton brother, played by Allen Vincent) finds a makeup case he thinks belongs to Dell – but which actually belongs to Corinne – in Victor’s bed. Dell covers for her – but Bob will not let it go, because – based on Dell’s authentically conveyed dislike of Vic – Bob thinks it means Vic must have forced himself on her.
  • Goddamnit, Bob. Refusing to listen to reason, Brother Bob goes & shoots Vic dead in his apartment elevator. No one sees Bob arrive at the building, but a doorman does see Adele, as she races to find Bob & prevent anything terrible from happening. Goddamnit, Bob. You’re such a dumbass.
  • “Body Found in Lift After Woman Caller Disappears,” reads the newspaper headline the next day. Stellar.
  • Father Hamilton (his first name is Courtney, so we’ll just stick to “Father”) (Walter Walker) gets his buddy Howard Mills, the District Attorney (Oscar Apfel), to drop the Linley murder case…but the case is soon reopened thanks to all-star lawyer David Norton, who makes public statements about the DA’s negligence – not understanding, of course, that the prime suspect in the case will soon be his gal pal Dell.
  • The Doorman (Spencer Charters) from Linley’s building (the one who saw Dell) visits Norton’s office with a bunch of reporters, sees & recognizes Dell, & is like, ‘Yup, that’s the dame!’
  • Dannnng. We’re all screwed. Especially when Howard Mills is like, ‘Yo, Dave – you cooked up all this outrage around the case, so I’m making you my Deputy DA, and you’ll handle the goddamn thing.’ Predictably, Dave is not enthused – nor is Dell, when she hears that Dave has been “forced” to accept this appointment.

“So you were the man I had faith in – the man who’d do anything in the world for me because he loved me. Well, there’s just one thing in the world that I want you to do for me, and that’s get out.” (– Dell)

Love it.

  • Overhearing this quarrel, Brother Bob, always the rash decision-maker, calls up police headquarters & confesses to Victor’s murder.

(This is not quite cause for applause – since now everyone thinks that Brother Bob is actually the one shielding Dell, and not the other way around.)

  • Dave must question Dell in court. He discontinues questioning extremely prematurely, to the outrage of everyone (but to the happiness of Dell).
  • However, a member of the jury requests to ask Dell a few questions (the judge allows it) – and she’s caught in a lie about the timing of her elevator rides, the night of the murder. She winds up confessing that she saw her brother in the elevator & that he did kill Linley – but it was only to protect her virtue, as she was ‘intimately involved’ with Linley.

Poor Dell. And with Dave sitting right there.

  • Constance Bennett is awesome, y’all. I love her.
  • Based on Dell’s testimony, Brother Bob is acquitted, and the movie ends with Dave & Dell sharing a classic meal of beans & ketchup together.

(Dave had suspected Corinne & Victor were a thing since he’d seen them canoodling in the garden at a party one time – so he know that Dell’s testimony only had been made to protect her sister, ultimately.)

  • Unique ending, with the beans & all – and overall, I liked the movie. Nothing jaw-droppingly phenomenal – but enjoyable to watch, regardless.
  • Two more notes:

1) Allen Vincent did not play Brother Bob with much talent.

2) Alan Mowbray, as Corinne’s unknowingly jilted husband George, had virtually no lines. Weird.

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