review for Let 'em Have It on AllMovie

Let 'em Have It (1935)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

A terse, tough, and at times frightening thriller, Let 'Em Have It! seems actually to have benefited from the lack of a large budget. Produced at RKO by Edward Small's independent Reliance Pictures Corp. and directed with a minimum of fuss by the veteran Sam Wood, this gangster melodrama was filmed prior to but released after Warner Bros.' more renowned but less authentic G-Men (1935), another thriller dealing with J. Edgar Hoover's burgeoning FBI. Although lacking a superstar like G-Men's James Cagney, Let 'Em Have It! comes with a solid cast of Hollywood reliables that includes Richard Arlen as the attorney turned G-Man and Virginia Bruce as the somewhat dense heroine. But the film's main acting honors belong squarely to Bruce Cabot, formerly of King Kong (1933), who eschews hoary theatrics in favor of realism as the unscrupulous villain. It is a surprisingly chilling performance from an actor mostly associated with essaying cool playboys, heroic or otherwise. According to Cabot himself, the role as the scarred gangster proved something of an ordeal that necessitated nearly six hours in the makeup chair every day.