Night Life in Reno (1931)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Marriage Drama, Melodrama  |   Release Date - Nov 2, 1931 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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It's too bad that the eye-catching Dixie Lee doesn't get to hang around Night Life in Reno longer and bless it with her fun sauciness. Lee's part is definitely a minor one, but she lights up the screen during her scenes and adds a liveliness that is missed when she's away. Granted, the other leading actors are at a disadvantage: they have to move the dull plot along. Arthur Hoert's screenplay is woefully short on inspiration, although being made in 1931, it does have some of that pre-Code spiciness and tawdriness that adds to many a film's pleasures. Indeed, the basic situation in Reno is pretty adult, but it's used as the basis for a standard issue melodrama that never really catches fire the way keeps hoping it will. Director Robert Cannon is partially to blame, for he seems to be working under the "get it in the can and move on" style of directing; it's relatively efficient but impersonal and not very involving. Virginia Valli does what she can with the leading female part, but her heart doesn't really seem to be in it, and Jameson Thomas is adequate but no more. Arthur Houseman is painfully unfunny as a drunk.