The Cheat (1931)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Although it's sheer trash, The Cheat is an amusing film to watch for camp lovers, especially as it contains a wonderfully over the top turn from the one and only Tallulah Bankhead. Cheat is a wallow through and through, a melodrama that exists only to degrade. Theoretically, Cheat is a cautionary tale about the dangers of gambling, but it's really just a chance to ogle at the rich misbehaving, to see some salacious skullduggery by a rich pervert, and to witness said pervert get his just desserts after physically branding Bankhead for refusing his advances. Harry Hervey's screenplay is hogwash and trollop, but it does provide plenty of unintentional laugha. George Abbott's direction is slushy, but he does have fun when he gets to highlight the seamier aspects of the story. The physical production itself is quite good, with Paramount having clearly given the project a more than decent budget. Bankhead is a riot; she certainly is trying hard, and her commitment shows that in the right project, she really would be capable of turning in a stunning project. But this is far from the right project, and her full-throttle approach doesn't survive the tripe.