Paul Muni stars in this drama about a romantic triangle that leads to madness and murder. Overly enthusiastic Mexican attorney Johnny Ramirez (Muni) is disbarred after his first trial for his flagrant disregard of courtroom etiquette. In desperate need of work, he takes a job as a bouncer in a sleazy bordertown night club owned by Charlie Roark (Eugene Pallette). Charlie's wife Marie (Bette Davis) is immediately attracted to Johnny and makes a none-too-subtle play for him. But Johnny has his eye on Dale Elwell (Margaret Lindsay), a socialite who enjoys slumming in low-class dives and admiringly refers to Johnny as a "savage." Johnny tells Marie that it's against his principles to get involved with a married woman, so she decides to do something about that: she traps drunken Charlie in his car while it's locked in a garage, allowing the carbon monoxide to take Charlie out of the picture. When Marie explains that she killed her husband and is now available to him, Johnny wants no part of her; bitter that Johnny has snubbed her, Marie implicates him in Charlie's murder, leading to a dramatic and surprising trial. Paul Muni reportedly moved in with his Mexican chauffeur in order to study his accent and reproduce it accurately for this film.
by Mark Deming synopsis