IMDb > The Public Enemy (1931)
The Public Enemy
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The Public Enemy (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   10,822 votes »
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Up 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Kubec Glasmon (by) and
John Bright (by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Public Enemy on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 April 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
As a tsunami, nothing was able to stop Cagney once he was aroused, and no one even thought to try… See more (97 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Cagney ... Tom Powers

Jean Harlow ... Gwen Allen
Edward Woods ... Matt Doyle

Joan Blondell ... Mamie
Donald Cook ... Mike Powers
Leslie Fenton ... Nails Nathan
Beryl Mercer ... Ma Powers
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Paddy Ryan (as Robert O'Connor)
Murray Kinnell ... Putty Nose
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clark Burroughs ... Dutch (uncredited)

Mae Clarke ... Kitty (uncredited)
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Tom as a Boy (uncredited)
George Daly ... Machine Gunner (uncredited)

Frankie Darro ... Matt as a Boy (uncredited)
Snitz Edwards ... Miller (uncredited)
Rita Flynn ... Molly Doyle (uncredited)
Dorothy Gee ... Nails' Girl (uncredited)
Douglas Gerrard ... Assistant Tailor (uncredited)
Dorothy Gray ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Ben Hendricks Jr. ... 'Bugs' Moran as a Boy (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Officer Pat Burke (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Joe - Headwaiter (uncredited)
Mia Marvin ... Jane (uncredited)
Sam McDaniel ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Helen Parrish ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Steve - Bartender (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Bartender (uncredited)
Purnell Pratt ... Officer Powers (uncredited)
Nanci Price ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Landers Stevens ... Doctor (uncredited)
William H. Strauss ... Pawnbroker (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Mug (uncredited)
Lucille Ward ... Larry Dalton's Weeping Mother (uncredited)
Adele Watson ... Mrs. Doyle (uncredited)
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Directed by
William A. Wellman 
 
Writing credits
Kubec Glasmon (by) and
John Bright (by)

Harvey F. Thew (screen adaptation) (as Harvey Thew)

Produced by
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Devereaux Jennings (photography) (as Dev Jennings)
 
Film Editing by
Edward M. McDermott (edited by) (as Edw. M. McDermott)
 
Casting by
Rufus Le Maire (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Max Parker 
 
Costume Design by
Edward Stevenson (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dolph Zimmer .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Irving Glassberg .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Frank Kesson .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Nelson Laraby .... director of photography: additional photography (uncredited)
William Reinhold .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Al Roberts .... camera operator (uncredited)
William Schurr .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harry L. Underwood .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Willard Van Enger .... camera operator (uncredited)
Sidney Wagner .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Scotty Welbourne .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Earl Luick .... wardrobe
 
Music Department
David Mendoza .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
David Mendoza .... composer: title music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Dillingham .... production assistant (uncredited)
William Guthrie .... location manager (uncredited)
Newitt .... production assistant (uncredited)
Clem Peoples .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Rule .... production assistant (uncredited)
Whitmore .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
83 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:14 | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-15 (2005) | Germany:12 | New Zealand:PG | Sweden:(Banned) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1977) | UK:A (cinema release) | UK:PG (video release)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The scene where Tom shoots the horse that threw and killed Sam "Nails" Nathan in a riding accident was based on an actual incident. In 1924 Sam "Nails" Morton, a member of Charles Dion O'Bannion's gang, was thrown from his horse and killed while riding in Chicago's Lincoln Park. Other members of the gang, led by Louis "Two Gun" Alteri, kidnapped the horse, took it to the spot where the accident occurred and shot it dead. Source: Carl Sifakis, "Encyclopedia Of American Crime."See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the scene where Tom Powers and Matt Doyle are strafed by assassin's machine guns, we see Cagney ducking behind the corner of a building. Bullets suddenly and violently hit and tear up the concrete corner into big pock-marked chips an eye-blink after he ducks. But in subsequent shots, the machine gun damage to the concrete is gone.See more »
Quotes:
Tom as a boy:[Tom grabs his pants just as his father is about to spank him] How do you want 'em this time, up or down?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Dead Father (1985)See more »
Soundtrack:
Maple Leaf RagSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
42 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
As a tsunami, nothing was able to stop Cagney once he was aroused, and no one even thought to try…, 8 May 2005

"Public Enemy" brought two things to the screen: the little tough guy, fast-talking, unscrupulous gangster characterization by James Cagney which was to follow him throughout his entire screen career, and the grapefruit scene…

Though "Public Enemy" created the Cagney image, he had already appeared in two other gangsters films for Warners, as a murderer prepared to let someone else pay for his crime in "Sinner's Holiday," and as a double-crossing hoodlum in "Doorway to Hell."

"Public Enemy," however, was a bigger-budget production, directed by William Wellman, and it contained all the elements of success… It is the story of two brothers who become Chicago booze barons in the Twenties... One was Cagney, the other Edward Woods…

It is sometimes claimed that the story of "Public Enemy" is based on that of "Little Hymie" Weiss, leader of the North Side Chicago gang after the murder of Dion O'Banion by the Capones in 1924… What is more likely is that the Cagney characterization is based on "Little Hymie"; the plot itself is pure fiction…

When Cagney, in his striped pajama, sat opposite Mae Clarke at breakfast and decided he had had enough of this boring broad, he wasted no time… He picked up half a grapefruit and planted it full into Clarke's face… It was a piece of screen action which has lasted down the years as the ultimate in violence from the gangster to his moll…

Of course, it isn't – it just seems that way… Since then gir1s have been slapped, kicked, beaten up, run over, shot, stabbed and raped, all in the tradition of mobster violence…

But at the time this scene was daring, and the more daring because it was totally unexpected… We remember Mae Clarke in "Public Enemy," yet forget that Jean Harlow was in it, too… There may have been good reason… The New York Times, reviewing the film in 1934, commented: "The acting throughout is interesting, with the exception of Jean Harlow, who essays the role of a gangster's mistress."

Cagney made violence and a life of crime magically seductive, and "Public Enemy" made him Warners' number 2 gangster, second only to Edward G. Robinson…

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Public Enemy (1931)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Was the Grapefruit scene ad-libbed? kartoon-1
So they whacked the horse then? FilmKoala
what if this movie was remade? infamousdave886
Clockwork Orange steals a scene! KubricksSeal
Finally! I got that Bugs Bunny Reference andrewsk8s
What was the last thing James Cagney Said?? mikehunt620
See more »

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