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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 8,066 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 36 critic

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), 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jeffrey Lynn ...
Frank McHugh ...
Danny Green
Paul Kelly ...
Nick Brown
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Edward Keane ...
Henderson (as Ed Keane)
Joe Sawyer ...
Joseph Crehan ...
Michaels
George Meeker ...
Masters
John Hamilton ...
Judge
Robert Elliott ...
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:

Biggest of all the Cagney smashes! (Trade Paper ad) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The World Moves On  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Hellinger was relatively new on staff at Warner Brothers and had been given various "B"-picture writing and producing assignments. According to "The Mark Hellinger Story" by Jim Bishop, after initially reading Hellinger's story for this film, studio boss Jack L. Warner and production chief Hal B. Wallis became so excited that they considered the project too good for Hellinger to produce. Wallis became Executive Producer and told Hellinger he would give him the title of Associate Producer. It wasn't until after the film was released that Hellinger saw that screen credit for Associate Producer had gone to Samuel Bischoff. It didn't matter to Hellinger, however, as the film was unanimously praised by critics and was a financial success. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Panama Smith: I'm sick of watching you try to put out that torch you carry for her with a lot of cheap hooch. Who does the kid look like?
Eddie Bartlett: Like her.
Panama Smith: And they got a nice house.
Eddie Bartlett: Yeah, it's a nice house if you like that kind of a house, but for me, uh, I'll take a hotel anytime. You know that.
Panama Smith: Me too. Ain't it funny how our tastes have always run the same? Ever since the first time we met. I can just picture you living in the suburbs, working in a garden, raising flowers and kids. Wouldn't that be a laugh.
Eddie Bartlett: Yeah,...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Jack Little and John Siras
Lyrics by Joe Young
Sung by Gladys George at Flanagan's
See more »

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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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