Lou Ricarno is a smart guy. His plan is to organize the various gangs in Chicago so that the mugs will not liquidate each other. WIth the success of his leadership, Louie prospers, marries ... See full summary »
McCord's gang robs the stage carrying money to pay Indians for their land, and the notorious outlaw "The Oklahoma Kid" Jim Kincaid takes the money from McCord. McCord stakes a "sooner" ... See full summary »
In 1918 France, Captain Flagg commands a disreputable company of Marines; his new top sergeant is his old friendly enemy, Quirt. The two men become rivals for the favors of fair innkeeper's... See full summary »
War veteran pilots Dizzy Davis, Texas Clark and Jake Lee are working in an airline. Dizzy is fooling with one of the younger pilot's girl-friend and due to this, he changes flights with ... See full summary »
Alcoholic newspaperman Lew Marsh hits bottom, loses his job and is rehabilitated by Charley Dolan. After six years on the wagon he gets his job back and devotes himself to other recovering ... See full summary »
Lou Ricarno is a smart guy. His plan is to organize the various gangs in Chicago so that the mugs will not liquidate each other. WIth the success of his leadership, Louie prospers, marries Doris and retires to Florida to write his autobiography and play golf. In his absence the gang warfare flares, but he does not return as he wants to give a respectable image of life to his wife, younger brother and his Florida neighbors. While letters and telegrams from Mileaway will not influence his decision, events will. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What appears to be a typo in the gangland slaughter headline of the newspaper Louie reads in the boarding house - it reads 'grewsome' instead of 'gruesome' - is in fact an acceptable variant that was more popular at the time the film was released. See more »
The "Doorway to Hell" is a one-way door. There is no retribution - no plea for further clemency. The little boy walked through it with his head up and a smile on his lips. They gave him a funeral - a swell funeral that stopped traffic - and then they forgot him before the roses had a chance to wilt.
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Much has been said about Lew Ayres being miscast in this film, but I don't agree. The notion that a pretty young boy can't be a gangster is belied both by Ayres' performance and by history itself--Pretty Boy Floyd, anyone? (I should add, however, that Jimmy Cagney, in his autobiography, agreed with those who believed Ayres was too pretty to play a convincing gangster!)
This film is so much better than you'd think, and that is due not only to fine performances by Ayres and Cagney (make that, a WONDERFUL performance by Cagney, who really does ignite the screen), but also to impressive direction by Archie Mayo. I confess I usually think of Mayo as a pretty journeyman director, but maybe I've only seen his later work and "talkies" spoiled him. If you were to watch this film without sound, you'd be hyper-aware of the wonderful camera set-ups and editing, particularly during the prison break, when the screen is filled with jump cuts of men's legs running. Of course, without the sound, you'll miss the great period dialogue (a gangland ambush offers Ayres the opportunity to "walk into a handful of clouds").
TCM shows this film from time to time, and you really shouldn't miss it. It's well-written, well-directed, has great performances, and the closing lines (displayed as a printed page of the source story on the screen) are as poignant as anything you'll ever read.
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