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Jimmy the Gent (1934)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play) (as Bertram Milhauser), (story "The Heir Chaser") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jimmy Corrigan
...
Joan Martin
...
Lou
...
Charles Wallingham
...
Mabel
Arthur Hohl ...
Joe
...
Ronny Gatson
...
Fake Worthingham
...
Gladys Farrell
Renee Whitney ...
Bessie
...
Hendrickson (as Ralfe Harolde)
Merna Kennedy ...
Jitters
...
Intern Blair
...
Sarah Posy Barton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Always a Gent  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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 »

Goofs

Two of the newspapers' front pages in the montage at the beginning of the film have the same headline and story of Jesse Owens choosing Ohio State University out of 28 colleges that recruited him out of high school in Cleveland. See more »

Quotes

Miss Joan Martin: [Speaking of Wallingham] He bothers you, doesn't he?
'Jimmy' Corrigan: Yeah, like a crumb in a union suit!
Miss Joan Martin: Well, it'll always bother you. Jimmy, he's got something you haven't.
'Jimmy' Corrigan: The only thing he's got that I want is you, and he took you away from me.
See more »

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

 
A speedy but empty, facile comedy that could've been much more!
8 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jimmy the Gent (1934)

As an old-film lover, I'm going to have to disagree with the majority of reviewers here and say this film is too flawed and formulaic to rise above its peers. Even its star, James Cagney, is a bit rote and predictable, taking on a harsh edge that prevents any depth to his supposedly complicated character. The other star is in retrospect—this is an early Bette Davis appearance, and she's wonderful to see so unformed, but she, too, is playing a common role.

All is not disaster here, for sure. The pace is terrific, and turns of plot, which are a problem overall in their quick succession, keep you on your toes. There are stock characters in secondary roles who will be familiar to early Warner Bros. fans, and the filming is generally solid, if bright and a bit dull, too.

Yes, there are hesitations at every turn. Director Michael Curtiz has been cranking out films by the dozen for Hollywood by now, after emigrating from Europe, and many of those are frankly better and worth seeking out. But he's a long way from the mastery of "Casablanca" or "Mildred Pierce," as a director above all.

The story here seems workable—Cagney and Davis play characters who scheme a complicated scam involving a huge inheritance. The twists are basically a farce because there are so many and they happen without warning. In fact, I think the style of the film is to have everything just "happen" in a madcap way, and the audience is to be dazzled and impressed by the audacity of the writers. But there is a little sense of involvement that would help very much, a wanting the characters to win or lose at their efforts. One example is how two court cases are reduced to a single sentence each: the judges reading their conclusion.

That seems dandy in a way, a hugely streamlined plot. But it defines superficial, too. In these two cases, there is time spent watching the courtroom crowd reacting to the news, but we don't really care about that. We aren't made to care.

Not that this should be a drama, of course. It's a comedy plain and simple. And a slip of romance sneaks in as our two leads brush past each other now and then. All of it is interesting, and it's never quite boring. But for a fast pre-Code or early Code era movie, there are many examples that are fast, funny, and engrossing and inventive, too. Expect only the effects here.


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