A remake of his 1921 film of the same name, Tod Browning's Outside the Law offers Edward G. Robinson in an incisive, pre-Little Caesar gangster portrayal. Robinson, however, is not the star of the picture: that honor goes to Owen Moore, cast as enterprising bank robber Fingers O'Dell. As part of his plan to knock over the City National Bank, Fingers poses as an advertising mannequin in the bank's window, allowing himself to case the joint while in full view of the police and public. Gangster boss Cobra Collins (Robinson) gets wind of Fingers' scheme and demands a 50-percent piece of the action. Fingers' girlfriend Connie (Mary Nolan) tries to throw Collins off the track by giving him the wrong date of the scheduled heist, but this plan falls through at the last minute. After blowing the bank's safe, Fingers hides out in an apartment which happens to be next door to a flat owned by a policeman. Thus it is that when Collins shows up, demanding his share of the dough, the cops are ready for him. Browning's directorial technique and Robinson's energetic performance help to obscure the plot idiocies in this outlandish cops-and-robbers yarn.
by Hal Erickson synopsis