Considering that the film was directed by Raoul Walsh and starred Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett, you would prob assume that the film would be better than this one. However, Tracy was not yet a star and Walsh was a ways off from being a top director, so in this film they obviously were given a second-rate script. Fortunately, despite the film's many deficiencies, they were able to make the most of a relatively dull film.
Much of the movie seems virtually plot-less--with an exciting story only occurring near the end. Up until then, it seems to just meander--showing a dopey young cop (Tracy) making good again and again as well as courting a pretty young lady (Bennett). Despite the aimless direction, Tracy plays a likable dope who, after a while, really grows on you. And, fortunately, the last 10 minutes or so is interesting enough to at least let the film end on a high note.
By the way, there IS a bright moment in the film where, out of the blue, Tracy's character talks about a movie he just saw..."Strange Innertube"! This is actually referring to the Gable/Shearer film "Strange Interlude"--an odd little film made by rival studio, MGM, in which the characters act AND you can hear what they are thinking. In this cute parody of the MGM film, suddenly you can hear what Tracy and Bennett are thinking as they being making out--it's very cute and certainly the high point in an otherwise odd and slow film.
Worth watching, certainly, but far from the best work of all concerned. It's mostly a curiosity that I can only strongly recommend to Tracy fans who want to be able to say they've seen all of his work.
Reviewed by warrenk-26 / 10
Ingratiating pre-Code fun
"Me and My Gal" is an ingratiating pre-Code comedy-drama enhanced by spirited banter between Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett who play two young people feeling each other out as potential mates. Bennett is surprisingly good as a wise-cracking, down-to-earth waitress who speaks her mind and can easily hold her own against Tracy's New York City cop. The pre-Code era's lack of pretense about sexuality makes their impassioned kiss in the diner -- as the two knock over items on the lunch counter -- all the more humorous. Bennett, both impressed and amused by Tracy's kiss, responds: "If you're gonna kiss me like that, you're gonna have to marry me." It's a magical little moment that caused the passage of time since 1932 to drop away and left me there with them to enjoy the fun.
A sub-plot involves Bennett's newly married sister, a good girl who nevertheless can't resist her bad boy gangster ex-boyfriend. When he needs to hide from the police, she installs him in a spare bedroom, under the nose of her disabled father-in-law who is confined to a wheelchair, can't speak a word and communicates only by blinking his eyes in Morse code. Later, when everything gets resolved, Tracy tells the father-in-law that the daughter-in-law is a good kid at heart in spite of what she did, expressing pre-Code generosity for forgiveness and tolerance, even in sexual transgressions with gangsters.
Reviewed by AlsExGal8 / 10
It's a precode and a noir!
This film covers lots of ground. It starts out being a slice of life in Depression era New York City where New York cop on the beat Danny Dolan (Spencer Tracy) meets diner waitress Helen Riley (Joan Bennett) and they fall in love after a rather raucous romance. During this time, Danny gets a promotion and becomes a detective on the force. This is the precode part of the film.
The noir part of the story has to do with Helen's sister, Kate. She had been in love with gangster Duke Castenega, but when he left town she got engaged to the horse-faced but honest and steady Eddie, who is a merchant seaman. Kate gets married and Duke is captured and sent to prison but manages to escape, finding his way back to Kate while Eddie is out to sea. This is the noir part - Kate willing to blow up her life over a strong physical attraction to Duke that I think even she mistakes for love.
The two parts of the film intersect when Danny is one of a group of detectives tasked with bringing Duke in, with Helen having divided loyalty between Danny and her sister.
There are lots of interesting, poignant, and funny scenes - Danny and Helen playing out a scene from "Strange Interlude" that they remember as "Strange Innertube", Danny rescuing a dog that his homeless and hungry owner is getting ready to drown out of desperation, Kate's drunken wedding reception and her dad throwing the radio out the window. As for the dog that is rescued, I thought it was odd everybody was so interested in the dog having plenty to eat, but nobody ever bothered to help his elderly and equally hungry owner who had already said that if he had the nerve he would kill himself. Some things never change.
What took an entire star off of my rating were the tedious scenes involving a perpetual drunk who just gets annoying. Every time I think he is gone for good he comes back, ruining every scene he is in. Fortunately, he is completely gone during the second half as the action and drama part heats up.