An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

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(screen play) (as Bertram Milhauser), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jimmy
...
Joan
...
Louie
Alan Dinehart ...
Wallingham
...
Mabel
Arthur Hohl ...
Joe
Phillip Reed ...
Ronny Gatson
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Fake Worthingham
...
Gladys Farrell
Renee Whitney ...
Bessie
Ralf Harolde ...
Hendrickson (as Ralfe Harolde)
Merna Kennedy ...
Jitters
Philip Faversham ...
Intern Blair
Nora Lane ...
Sarah Posy Barton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Treen ...
Nurse (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Unscrupulous investigator of lost heirs Jimmy Corrigan loses his love Joan Martin to apparently upright competitor James Wallingham. He counters by adding a veneer of respectability to his own operation. Meanwhile he exposes Wallingham for a fraud. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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He's the BIGGEST CHISELER since MICHAELANGELO! Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Were PIKERS compared ti this RED-HAIRED SON-OF-A-GUN!

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Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

17 March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Always a Gent  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title of this movie became the nickname of real life criminal Jimmy Burke, who is portrayed by Robert De Niro in Goodfellas (1990). See more »

Quotes

'Jimmy' Corrigan: I'd give my right eye.
Miss Joan Martin: It would turn out to be glass!
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Connections

Featured in All About Bette (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night
(1853) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung a cappella by Hobart Cavanaugh and Eddie Shubert
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User Reviews

 
So here she goes again - she needs a haircut
14 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This very fun film starring James Cagney and Bette Davis really had me wondering about the person behind Ms. Davis' dialogue. I'll get to that later.

Cagney plays Corrigan, a so-called "genealogist" who is in reality a con man. Of course he looks and acts like one, too. He and his group, which includes Allen Jenkins, try to bilk people out of their inheritances.

Across the way is Wallingham (Alan Dinehart). He's a genealogist, too, in a very fancy office. He's immaculately dressed, and an immaculate, formal staff go from person to person offering them tea and magazines.

As one can imagine, when Jimmy visits the office, he's impressed and wants an office just like that. His old secretary, Joan (Davis) works there now, but for ten months she worked for Corrigan. She thinks Wallingham has ethics.

The plot concerns a woman found dead from poisoning. Homeless and hungry, she ate a partially eaten hamburger bun out of garbage but had no way of knowing the original recipient had been poisoned with it.

Everyone laments her fate until they get a load of her coat. It is double-lined with bonds, jewels, gold, and the key to a safe deposit box. Wallingham doesn't know he has a mole in his office (Phillip Reed), who tips off Corrigan, and the race is on.

Corrigan moves into new digs and starts dressing better to impress Joan, and he comes up with a honey of a scheme to retrieve this money from the woman's daughter, who is sure her mother's husband is dead.

Very funny plot filled with twists and turns, and the film has great direction by Michael Curtiz. It moves like lightening. The dialogue is very funny.

Cagney is not just a con artist - he plays it like he's really from the slums, which makes the difference between him and Dinehart even funnier. Also I swear he never stopped talking for the entire film.

Davis is still, in 1934, moping along in these ordinary parts, wearing the blonde hair of the day and probably wondering when someone would give her a role to show off her talents. It happened soon after.

Now for the dialogue. I started to wonder if someone was slipping incongruous lines into Davis' scripts. In Cabin in the Cotton, Davis utters one of the most baffling lines in film history, and actually she used it to close her interview with John Springer that toured the country: "I'd kiss you, but I just washed my hair."

In Jimmy the Gent, her current boss, Wallingham, leans in for a kiss. Davis looks at him as if he's under a microscope and says, "I need a haircut."

I wondered if this hair business had any significance in the early '30s. One of life's mysteries.


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