(1932)3Craig ButlerThere never was anyone quite like Lee Tracy, the machine gun-mouthed character actor who managed a brief starring career in pre-Code movies, of which Blessed Event arguably gives Tracy the chance to shine in all his diamond hard glory. Tracy was an odd choice for stardom, a guy who wasn't blessed with male model looks and who had a persona that was perfect for self-centered egoists who don't mind a little love but only if it doesn't get in the way of old number one. It's the kind of character that can be repulsive, but Tracy's total self-absorption and, equally important, his incredible timing and precise delivery of a one-liner make him somehow appealing. He's a force of nature, and one that won't be denied; moreover, he's a peculiarly American one, taking the concept of individualism to an extreme. Tracy also is someone who requires an amoral atmosphere in which to thrive. After the Production Code really came in, the kind of stories, situations and characters that could best contain him lost their power. But Blessed has none of these worries, blithely dealing with unwanted pregnancies, homosexuality and other subjects soon to be forbidden, and allowing the audience to cheer on a go-getter who tramples anyone in the way of getting what he wants. Tracy is perfectly complemented by Roy Del Ruth's rapid-fire direction and by a script that gives him plenty to get his mouth around; his electric chair monologue is really astounding.