review for Johnny Apollo on AllMovie

Johnny Apollo (1940)
by Craig Butler review

A solid gangster melodrama that doesn't break any new ground but does a pretty good job of playing by the rules, Johnny Apollo is raised a little above average due to the efforts of its cast. Tyrone Power, as the title character, carries the film, and if he lacks some of the inner conflict that would add further dimension to the character, he still turns in a fine, leading man star turn. He has just the right mix of vulnerability and toughness, and of course the underlying sense of honor and decency that is crucial are there in spades. Lloyd Nolan does very well as the crime boss who leads him into a life of crime, and Edward Arnold is aces as the father whose own dishonest actions start the ball rolling that forces him into that life. As always, Lionel Atwill can be counted on to add a little flair, but it's Charley Grapewin as the respectable "front" for the mob that make sthe biggest impression in a performance that is noteworthy for its depth. As about the only woman on hand, Dorothy Lamour provides the requisite sex appeal and handles her songs with aplomb. Henry Hathaway's direction is smooth and hits the right notes; if it is lacking a bit in invention, it still does provide a good amount of atmosphere and tension.