The Earl of Chicago (1940)
The schizophrenic screenplay of The Earl of Chicago is rendered even more bizarre by the uneven performance by Robert Montgomery. He plays Silky Kilmont, a Runyonesque American gangster who inherits a British title (Earl of Gorley) and mansion. Taking charge of his new estate, Silky has an amusing time trying to acclimate himself to the customs of the "landed gentry". Things take a sinister turn when Silky discovers that his trusted attorney Doc Ramsey (Edward Arnold) is actually a bigger crook than he is. In a rage, Silky murders Ramsey, then goes into what appears to be a catatonic shock, refusing to defend himself at his murder trial. Blood finally tells at the climax when Silky Kilmont, aka the Earl of Gorley, meets his fate with a dignity and decorum worthy of his aristocratic forebears. The queasy atmosphere of the film is heightened by its utter lack of romance; outside of character actress Norma Varden, there are barely any women in the film at all. … More
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