The following essay is Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s contribution to Underseen and Underrated: The Classic Movie Blog Association’s Spring 2017 Blogathon, underway this week from May 15-19. For a complete list of the participants and the films discussed, click here.
|Tully Marshall, Eric Linden, Frank Sheridan|
Afraid to Talk was based on Merry-Go-Round, a controversial play written by George Sklar and future Hollywood Ten blacklistee Albert Maltz (the movie’s screenplay was adapted by Tom Reed). When you think of hard-hitting social dramas in the films of the '30s, you usually associate that material with Warner Brothers—yet Afraid can hold its own against any film featuring the likes of Jimmy Cagney or Edward G. Robinson, and in many respects, surpasses a lot of the Warner’s product. The amoral universe of Afraid—where everyone appears to be on the grift and honest individuals are few and far between—is most reminiscent of the brief cinematic oeuvre of writer-director Rowland Brown, responsible for such pre-Code flicks as Quick Millions (1931), Hell’s Highway (1932), and my favorite of them all, Blood Money (1933).
|Edward L. Cahn|
|Edward Arnold, Mayo Methot|