review for Manpower on AllMovie

Manpower (1941)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

Whenever Warner Bros. needed a serviceable vehicle for some of their tough leading men, the powers that be trotted out the old wheeze about a couple of blue-collar workers -- sometimes they were brothers, sometimes best buddies -- fighting over the same dame. The titles changed -- Other Men's Women (1931), Tiger Shark (1932), Slim (1937) -- but the eventual outcome stayed the same. Raoul Walsh inherited the plot, now called Manpower, in 1941 and apparently had a whale of a time keeping Edward G. Robinson and George Raft from carrying it into real life. The main reason for the two stars' very public animosity toward each other, according to a photographer from Life who was present on the set, was the alluring presence of Marlene Dietrich. All this, of course, is neither here nor there for a modern audience who can only marvel over the fact that Fraulein Dietrich manages to keep her powder dry in the midst of a torrential downpour. Not only that, the German diva gets away with playing a down-on-her-luck American floozy without anyone questioning that Teutonic accent. Even when miscast, however, the lady is always an interesting spectacle no matter how inconsequential the surroundings.