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Erle C. Kenton
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In my unhealthy quest to view every available Fay Wray film, I picked this one up on the same DVD with "The Sea God" - a kind of Fay Wray/Richard Arlen double feature. "The Sea God" proved to be the better film as "The Lawyer's Secret" was weighed down by excessive staginess and lack of action.
The story is of a lawyer choosing between protecting his client (his fiancé's brother) or saving an innocent man from hanging. This could have been a compelling script with different actors and more innovative direction. Fay Wray is just fine as the fiancé of the lawyer but is given little to do other than look worried. She's still quite a dish, but she never leaves her house until the final scene of the film. It doesn't help that her fiancé is twice her age (Brook born in 1887, Fay in 1907) and looks it.
There were a couple of decent images in the film, with the jail house scene at the tops of the list. Arlen (the wrongly accused man) is informed that the Governor will not intervene and he is then moved to death row. This is a fairly powerful image, that would have been better played almost silent. Although pretty good in most of the film, Arlen nearly ruins this moment with some misplaced "acting".
Overall, I'm glad I saw the film, but probably won't be popping it into the DVD player again anytime soon. "The Sea God", however, on the same disk, will see some more use.
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