An American Tragedy Reviews
The film is strongest in the scenes with Sidney or Dee, both of whom are beautiful and turn in strong performances, perfectly tuned to their characters. Where the film falls down is in its last 30 minutes, where the trial is far too long and has few moments of real interest. It's meant to be riveting as the District Attorney (Irving Pichel) and defense attorney (Emmett Corrigan) raise their voices dramatically, but instead it's tedious and dated. One wonders if the trial scenes were elongated following a successful lawsuit brought by Dreiser, one which distressed Director Josef von Sternberg so much that he disowned the picture. It's certainly the weakest part of the film, which is a shame given Sidney and Dee's performances.