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The Widow From Chicago (Warner Archive)
The Widow From Chicago (Warner Archive) (1930)
Actor: Alice White, Edward G. Robinson, Neil Hamilton, Frank McHugh, Lee Shumway, Brooks Benedict, E.H. Calvert, Betty Francisco, Harold Goodwin, Anne Cornwall
Director: Edward F. Cline
Genre: Crime, Drama, Murder, Gangsters, Crime Drama
Year: 1930
Studio: Warner Home Video
Length: 62 minutes
Released: August 30, 2016
Rating: NR
Format: DVD
Misc: NTSC, Full Screen, Black & White
Language: English (Original Language)
It might have been a musical had the studio not done an abrupt about-face on the genre and excised all the songs. Or funnier if director Edward Cline stayed true to his knack for comedy. Or a career uptick for early-talkie cutie Alice White had it shown her to greater advantage. But the pre-Code crime caper The Widow from Chicago is historic as Edward G. Robinson's first movie at Warner Bros. (First National, to be precise), and the ferocity, intelligence and charisma that would fuel his work as a gangster and character-actor supreme are on splendid display.

White plays the vengeful sister of a detective killed while posing as a Chicago gangster in order to infiltrate the mob run by kingpin Dominic (Robinson). When the real Windy City hood (Neil Hamilton) shows up, she finds that bringing down her brother's murderer requires teamwork. And -- hold the phone -- some fast thinking. Dominic may fall, but two months later came the electrifying arrival of Little Caesar, and Robinson's tough-guy stardom would be sealed.
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