It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »
It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval for arrests - that doesn't stop fresh Law School grad Eddie Buchanan from joining up, and he encourages his former roommate James "Brick" Davis (James Cagney) to do so as well. But Davis wants to be an honest lawyer, not a shyster, despite his ties to mobster boss McKay, and he's intent on doing so, until Buchanan is gunned down trying to arrest career criminal Danny Leggett. Davis soon joins the "G-Men" as they hunt down Leggett (soon-to-be Public Enemy Number One) and his cronies Collins and Durfee, who are engaged in a crime and murder spree from New York to the midwest. Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
Initially, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings disapproved of the film. Their primary reason was that it portrayed an FBI agent as insubordinate (Davis being a smart ass to McCord) and acting on his own (Davis leaving the hospital to find Collins). But when the movie became a success, Hoover and Cummings realized that the film could be used to promote the image of the FBI and they changed their minds and began openly endorsing it. See more »
During the shoot out in the garage, there seem to be 8 shots fired at Brick but 12 bullet holes in the wall behind him. See more »
Puff Piece for the Federal Bureau of Investigation
When Machine Gun Kelly gave up, uttering that famous line, "Don't Shoot G-Men", he gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation members a moniker that has survived down to this day. He also entitled an upcoming film being made at Warner Brothers about the FBI.
Though the FBI had been in existence since 1908, founded during the Theodore Roosevelt administration, it's structure and mystique never took shape until Calvin Coolidge's Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone appointed a young civil servant named J. Edgar Hoover as it's new head.
The place was known as dumping ground for political hacks up to that time and Hoover put an end to it. He brought in the laboratories and fingerprint data base. Folks who had law and accounting degrees saw the FBI as a good career now. Crime was now national and a national organization was needed to fight it.
Probably if J. Edgar Hoover had put in his retirement at the end of World War II his historic reputation would be a lot higher today. The negative stuff about him only comes during the McCarthy Era and beyond until his death in 1972. And only after that.
If Hoover was nothing else, he was media conscious. One of filmdom's most notorious gangster actors went on the side of law and order for G-Men. James Cagney is a young lawyer who's not doing so good in private practice, wasting the education that an oldtime gangster helped finance. After his friend FBI agent Regis Toomey is killed, Cagney joins the FBI. His knowledge of the underworld is put to some good use though he has a lengthy time winning acceptance from his superior, Robert Armstrong.
Lloyd Nolan makes his debut as an FBI agent here also. Later on during the Forties, Nolan played THE ideal conception of what J. Edgar Hoover had in mind for an agent in The House on 92nd Street and The Street With No Name.
A couple of incidents fresh in the mind of the public were recreated for G-Men, the famous Kansas City Massacre and a shootout at a rural motel that involved Baby Face Nelson who escaped as chief hood Barton MacLane does here. No doubt these scenes lent a certain documentary authenticity to the film.
G-Men dates very badly, the FBI is still respected, but not revered as it once was. But Cagney and the cast do a fine job and G-Men is a relic of bygone years.
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