Although innocent, reporter Frank Ross is found guilty of murder and is sent to jail. While his friends at the newspaper try to find out who framed him, Frank gets hardened by prison life ... 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 ... See full summary »
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »
Popular New York band leader Terry Rooney (Cagney) is offered a lucrative film contract out in Hollywood. Rooney and his wife pack up and head for California. Upon arriving, they meet Mr. Regan, the head of the studio, who believes that Rooney's true lack of desire for stardom is arrogance on the band leaders part. When his first film is huge success and hit for the studio, Regan tries to hide the truth from Rooney. Feeling a need to get away from Hollywood, Rooney takes his wife on a South Seas cruise, only to return to the real truth of his fame. Written by
Grand National Pictures head Edward L. Alperson had previously paid $25,000 for the rights to the perfect James Cagney vehicle, "Angels with Dirty Faces", and was literally begged by staff producer Edward Finney to film that property first. Inexplicably, Alperson went ahead with this film, a pet project of director Victor Schertzinger, which went way over schedule and budget, and flopped big time. Its failure broke the fledgling Grand National studio, which despite its profitable Tex Ritter series of low-budget westerns, went into bankruptcy in early 1940. See more »
Rita is in New York when she reads of Terry's supposed relationship with Steffie on the front page of the "Express" newspaper. Meanwhile in Hollywood, Terry learns of the false rumours in exactly the same way, from the exact front page of an identical "Express" newspaper. Props used the same newspaper for both coasts. Highly unlikely. See more »
Terrence 'Terry'; Rooney:
I'll stand up here and let you stick pins in me, but one more tickle, and I'm going to tear off one of your legs and wrap it around your neck for a scarf.
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Why Couldn't James Cagney get good musical properties?
Something to Sing About was produced at Grand National Studios where James Cagney was working while under a contract dispute with the brothers Warner. He did two films for this B studio, neither of which rank high in the Cagney credits.
One of the great losses to cinema is the fact that Jimmy Cagney did so few films that utilized his terrific dancing abilities. The two that come to mind immediately are Yankee Doodle Dandy and Footlight Parade. Two lesser films are The West Point Story and Never Steal Anything Small. Cagney himself said he never used to watch anything but his musicals in retirement. So why did he make so few of them?
Well this one was all wrong. The plot of Something to Sing About concerns a hoofer who fronts for a band who's discovered and given a movie contract. There are the usual complications of a conniving studio boss and a conniving press agent played respectively and well by Gene Lockhart and William Frawley. His contract calls for a no- marriage clause, so Cagney and band girl singer lady Evelyn Daw marry in secret. Then we get the complication of a publicity driven studio romance with screen leading lady Mona Barrie. I think you can figure where this is going.
The most disappointing thing about Something to Sing About is the lack of dance numbers for Cagney. He dances briefly at the beginning and the end of the film and nothing in the middle. Evelyn Daw had a nice singing voice and the charisma of a ham sandwich. She got the musical numbers such as they were. I'm sure the movie-going public was paying their tickets to see Cagney dance.
Also in addition to giving him some dance numbers a female dance partner would have been nice. He danced well with Ruby Keeler in Footlight Parade and with Virginia Mayo and Doris Day in The West Point Story. Weren't Ginger Rogers, Eleanor Powell or Ruby Keeler available?
No memorable songs came out of this. And Daw's voice is waisted as well. She has a Jeanette MacDonald soprano voice which was so out of place with a swing band.
No wonder Cagney went running back to Warner Brothers. But they should have given him some decent musicals.
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