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Sinners' Holiday (1930)

Ma Delano (La Verne) runs a boardwalk penny arcade, living upstairs with her sons (Cagney and Gallagher) and daughter (Knapp). Story involves rum running, accidental murder and a frame-up.



(based upon the play: "Penny Arcade"), (screen adaptation) (as Harvey Thew) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Lucille La Verne ...
Mrs. Delano (as Lucille LaVerne)
Warren Hymer ...
Harry Delano
Noel Madison ...
Evalyn Knapp ...
Otto Hoffman ...
Hank Mann ...
Ray Gallagher ...


Ma Delano (La Verne) runs a boardwalk penny arcade, living upstairs with her sons (Cagney and Gallagher) and daughter (Knapp). Story involves rum running, accidental murder and a frame-up. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Romance






Release Date:

11 October 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Women in Love  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Noel Madison. See more »


Mitch McKane: What's the hurry? Surprised to see me?
Harry Delano: Why Mitch, you old son of a gun. How are ya? It makes it seem like old times to see you around here. Glad to see ya.
Mitch McKane: Yeah, I'll bet you are.
Harry Delano: Uh, Buck said you wanna see me about something?
Mitch McKane: Yeah.
Harry Delano: Well it it's about Buck's joint, I just fixed up the old lady.
Mitch McKane: I ain't worried about the joint, you dirty double-crossing little rat.
Harry Delano: Why, what's the matter?
Mitch McKane: You know what's the matter. Fred's been peddling my hooch and you're in with them. And you brought in with ...
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: James Cagney (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Seeing Blondell and Cagney on screen for the first time makes it worthwhile
22 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This busy little film that was originally entitled "Penny Arcade" was retitled "Sinners Holiday" for no other reason than the fact that there were several films put out in 1930 with "Holiday" in the title that were successful. This film may have its fair share of sinners, but nobody is really on holiday in this fast-talking fast-paced little piece of Vitaphone history.

James Cagney starts out his career with Warner Brothers pretty much where he ended it - crying on his mother's lap just as he did in "White Heat" - the lap of a mother that will do anything to keep her baby out of trouble. Cagney plays Harry Delano, a tough guy who thinks he's tougher and smarter than he really is. His family runs the Penny Arcade in the amusement park. Evelyn Knapp plays his sister, Jennie. Jennie is in love with amusement park smart guy Angel Harrigan (Grant Withers), an ex-con and handyman at the arcade who has the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time when Ma Delano needs a fall guy to save her son Harry. It also doesn't help any that Ma Delano doesn't approve of Jennie's plans to marry Angel.

James Cagney gets more screen time in his first film than he does in any film until he gets his big break in Public Enemy. There is also a pretty good role for Joan Blondell in her first screen appearance as Myrtle, some-time girlfriend of Harry - also someone Ma Delano doesn't approve of. Who exactly did Ma Delano think her kids were going to wind up with while working in the amusement park? Wall Street types?

How did Cagney and Blondell end up together in this film, you might ask? Al Jolson bought the film rights to the Broadway production of "Penny Arcade" and would only sell it to Warner Brothers if Cagney and Blondell reprised their roles. Why he did this nobody knows, since Al Jolson was hardly known as a benefactor. However, in doing this he saved Warner Brothers a second time. The first time was in putting the studio on top in talking pictures, this second time he gift wrapped two actors that were perfect for the urban look and feel that the studio had been going for but had been having a rough time succeeding in getting right with the actors they were employing.

In summary, this film is full of the interesting minor characters, urban slang, and fast talking that make the early talking Warner Brothers films so much fun.

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