The Hole in the Wall (1929)

Article #1071 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-19-2004
Posting Date: 7-18-2004
Directed by Robert Florey
Featuring Claudette Colbert, Edward G. Robinson, David Newell

A woman joins a phony medium racket and plots to take revenge on the woman who falsely sent her to prison.

This movie is well-directed by Robert Florey and features two performers who were both on their way to stardom; Claudette Colbert and Edward G. Robinson. Colbert does a fine job, but it’s Robinson’s performance that sucks me into the movie; he was a great actor even at this stage of the game, and he had the ability to imbue some very ordinary lines with an emotional depth that adds immensely to the proceedings. It’s a good thing this movie has some strengths going for it, because the story is sometimes howlingly bad; at least one major plot contrivance has one character performing an act that is so supremely stupid that you’ll find it hard to believe. As for Donald Meek and Barry Macollum, I can’t decide which actor is saddled with the more degrading nickname, Goofy or Dogface. The fantastic aspects are minor initially; the phony spiritualism racket is one and the character of Dogface is a subhuman character that could have been considered a monster if they had given him something to do. As it is, I do like the talk about returning him to the carnival from which he came because it would save them money on raw meat. However, the movie does momentarily move clearly into the realm of fantastic cinema late in the game via a plot twist that I can’t give away here.


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