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The Public Menace (1935)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 96 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

Non-citizen Arthur marries reporter Murphy for a bogus gangster's confession. A divorce is needed, and Murphy is fired. The gangster wants her to be his girlfriend, the police are outside, and only one who can save her is Murphy.


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Standing before a divorce court judge are Sergeant Andy Anderson and Janie Anderson asking him to dissolve their marriage. Janie's father, William Smith, objects and the judge allows him to... See full summary »

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Jean Arthur, Lee Bowman, Charles Coburn


Credited cast:
Cassie Nicholls
Edward Joseph 'Red' Foster
Mario Tonelli
George McKay ...
Robert Middlemass ...
Victor Kilian ...
Charles C. Wilson ...
First Detective
Gene Morgan ...
Murray Alper ...
Shirley Grey ...
Mimi LaVerne
Bradley Page ...
Arthur Rankin ...
Thurston Hall ...
Captain of Ocean Liner
Fred Kelsey ...
Mike the Cop
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Holman ...
Self - Made Man (scenes deleted)


Non-citizen Arthur marries reporter Murphy for a bogus gangster's confession. A divorce is needed, and Murphy is fired. The gangster wants her to be his girlfriend, the police are outside, and only one who can save her is Murphy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

30 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lady of New York  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Hits its mark. PS I think I'm in love.
20 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'll have to watch it a few more times to be sure but I think I love this movie.

Here's what's to love:

-GREAT screwball comedy. Jean Arthur is her delightful self, really well-cast, she perfectly toes the line between funny and ditzy that can be difficult for a leading lady to do in a newspaper-crime story like this one. She uses her whole vocal range, but in a free-spirited character who never gets as worked up about things as everyone else, she remains calm and completely watchable, not to mention likable. Without her this movie would have been a pretty decent, well-conceived newspaper-crime comedy, but she makes it a screwball comedy, she has enough gusto to open up the romance angle, without overdoing it, so that it's a film you can not only enjoy, but really adore.

-A pretty tight plot, in a genre where this is often lacking. As of press time I've only watched it once, but it seemed actually pretty smart the first time through. Not like Adventure In Manhattan, which was just a little too much departure from reality to really get into, this starts off looking like your typical overblown, hammy newspaper man-in-search-of-story plot, but then it dips into an amusing lull wherein you keep expecting somebody's master plan to be revealed, but though the dialog is in places as sharp as The Front Page or His Girl Friday, it isn't one character pulling all the strings, and the plot is actually a little more believable, I feel, because it unfolds by a series of fairly natural accidents.

-George Murphy. I didn't think he'd win the film any points with me, given that I don't know him at all really, but he kept it together very well as a newspaper reporter who doesn't want to get involved with a woman(whenever Cary Grant's characters resorted to this I always felt like it was its own punchline, but from this average-looking smart alec, you actually believe it). He's wise not to try to steal the scene from the glib and giggly Arthur, but there were a couple places where, given Arthur's irresistibility, I felt he could have been a little more hilarious when playing his various changes of heart. But overall, I think he did a really solid job that doesn't leave me wishing another actor had played it, as I sometimes (often) do.

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