Heat Lightning | Chicago Reader

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63 minutes · 2013

The proletarian era at Warner Bros. was still in full swing when Mervyn LeRoy (Little Caesar, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang) directed this crackling 1934 adaptation of a play by Leon Abrams and George Abbott. The setting is a gas station/café/motel in the middle of the Mojave desert, tended by a butch mechanic (Aline MacMahon) and her dreamy sister (Ann Dvorak); various characters cruise in and out of their lives, including a couple of crooks on the lam (Preston Foster and Lyle Talbot). Among the pre-Code treats are a society dame (Glenda Farrell) who sleeps with her chauffeur (Frank McHugh) and a few priceless bits of gutter poetry ("You go your way, and we’ll go the way of all flesh").

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