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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 October 1939 (USA)
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Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
...
Nick Brown
...
Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Edward Keane ...
Henderson (as Ed Keane)
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The Sergeant - Pete Jones
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Michaels
...
Masters
...
Judge
...
First Detective
Eddy Chandler ...
Second Detective (as Eddie Chandler)
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Storyline

After the WWI Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie's partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The land of the free gone wild! The heyday of the hotcha! The shock-crammed days G-men took ten whole years to lick! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The World Moves On  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Cagney's bar scene was later colorized and digitally edited into a popular 1991 Diet Coke commercial featuring Elton John. See more »

Goofs

Eddie's arms change position when he falls on the church steps. See more »

Quotes

Panama Smith: Things have been pretty tough, haven't they?
Eddie Bartlett: They could be tougher. A guy in the cell with me was talkin' about bumpin' himself off. Until I get around to that, I'm doin' all right.
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Soundtracks

I'm Just Wild About Harry
(1921) (uncredited)
Music by Eubie Blake
Lyrics by Noble Sissle
Played during the opening and closing credits
Also played during the 1922 montage
Sung by Priscilla Lane at the club
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User Reviews

My favorite thirties Gangster Film
3 March 1999 | by (otter) – See all my reviews



Most of the famous gangster films were made in the early part of the decade, before the infamous Production Code took all the sex and violence out of the movies, and before they figured out how to make decent movies with sound. The landmark films of the genre like "Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy" are actually kind of poorly made, by modern standards.

Not so this entertaining film, it's full of life and energy and great fun to watch. James Cagney gives a wonderful performance as a dynamic and ambitious man who goes from a barely-eating taxi driver to a gang lord, and back again. Humphrey Bogart gives one of his best pre-Casablanca villain performances, and even generic leading lady Priscilla Land is fresh and likeable.

The only quibble I have with this film is it lacks the immediacy of the earlier "ripped from the headlines" films. It's made about days that had since gone by, and owes more to earlier films than the reality of the day (post-modernism in the thirties?). Still, it's great fun, do see it.


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