I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one and it, of the five films presented here (as originally posted), has the best chance for a more extensive write-up later.
(Much more extensive actually - HERE'S my fuller Bright Leaf article.)
I'm a sucker for a rags to riches story involving big business and so I was naturally hooked by this tale following Gary Cooper's entry into the tobacco business and how his cheap method of manufacturing cigarettes would crush the cigar industry led by Donald Crisp.
Coop's age is the main weakness here, though they never say just how young he's supposed to be I got the distinct impression that he was supposed to be somewhat similar in age to Lauren Bacall and Patricia Neal, which is a little ridiculous. That said he really played Brant Royle well, developing into more and more of an SOB as the picture went on until, of course, he gets knocked back a few pegs.
Also figuring on the scene are Jeff Corey as the inventor of the cigarette rolling machine (am I wrong for continually picturing Edward Everett Horton in this part?) and, once more, Jack Carson, as the former patent medicine barker Dr. Monaco who somehow gets a nice share of Coop's biz simply by coming up with a snappy slogan about Royle Cigarettes being fit for a King.
In summary, nice historical piece, complicated love triangle with a complicated lead who seriously lacks ethics throughout most of the film. Good stuff!
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