Counsellor at Law

Counsellor at Law unfolds at a breathless pace in the bustling New York law offices of Simon and Tedesco. John Barrymore, in what many consider a masterful performance, plays George Simon, a high-powered Jewish lawyer who has worked his way up from tenement to skyscraper by defending accused murderesses, powerful politicians, and the occasional hard-luck case from the old neighborhood. George is adored by his secretary (Bebe Daniels), but receives scant affection from his wife (Doris Kenyon), a spoiled socialite who loves her husband's deep pockets but never lets him forget that her ancestors came to the New World on the Mayflower, while George arrived in steerage. In an extraordinary scene, an angry young communist (played by future director Vincent Sherman) accuses George of being a traitor to his class. In true pre-Code fashion, Counsellor at Law is a tough, no-holds-barred look at the class divide.Mimi Brody

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