A minor Frank Borzage melodrama, but not without interest for students of his style. Joan Crawford is a poor girl from the lower east side, unhappily married to a petty crook, who finds relief with Spencer Tracy, a self-made millionaire. Borzage’s gift for compact, succinct, visual metaphor is evident in his use of a flickering lightbulb in the stairway of Crawford’s tenement apartment; it becomes, in the space of a few frames, a heartbreaking symbol of dying hope. With Alan Curtis and Ralph Morgan (1937).
Frank Borzage’s 1933 masterpiece stars Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young as two lovers who transcend the Depression in a New York shantytown. Few love stories have achieved the emotional intensity of Man’s Castle, and most of the others belonged to Borzage as well. He possessed the most delicate romantic sensibility in the movies, and his films are pervaded by a sublime spiritual quality that no one else has been able to capture. Leave your prejudices at home—this should be appreciated on its own terms. 75 min.