One Mile From Heaven ★★★★

News gal with a scoop
A strange case of racial politics
Tap dance for a resolution.

Packs three tap dancing numbers and 2 hours worth of plot into less than 70 minutes, and with great damn style too. Twice in the film, I noticed Dwan takes a POV shot, which is usually followed by a reverse shot, and turns it into the set up for the next action (that’s economy for you). But major appeal of this film is how this film evolves naturally and strangely into something that is really dangerous territory for a 1930s film. Begins basically as His Girl Friday (Clare Trevor can spin a good line) before turning into…I’d almost rather not say, because the drama at the center of this story is something you don’t see many 1930s films coming even close to with a 10 foot pole in terms of examining race relations. But it’s always snappy, moving, and somehow combines a number of genre elements (Newspaper flicks! Musicals! Gangsters! Court Melodramas!) before reaching its conclusion. In his introduction, David Phelps (co-creator of the Dwan Dossier with Gina Telaroli) mentioned that Dwan’s films were often centered around two polarizing forces harmonizing in the most impossible solution. I’m not sure if that’s really Dwan or just Hollywood in general, but the solution here is certainly totally out of left field and yet feels like the only one you can accept because of its impossibility. Bill Robinson’s feet are the star of the film, anyways.