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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 23 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:
...
...
...
...
Jeffrey Lynn ...
...
...
Nick Brown
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Edward Keane ...
Henderson (as Ed Keane)
Joe Sawyer ...
The Sergeant - Pete Jones
Joseph Crehan ...
Michaels
...
Masters
...
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:

1920 . . . Bootleggers, Jazz, Babe Ruth, Speakeasies, Jack Dempsey, Dames, Molls, Easy Living - Quick Dying . . . the torrid . . . blazing . . . wild . . . lush . . . lurid - ROARING TWENTIES ! ! ! 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:

 »
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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 character is introduced while the soundtrack is playing the song "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" - the same song that is playing at the end of his star-making film, The Public Enemy (1931) (made eight years earlier and also set in the 1920s), when his corpse is delivered to his family's home. See more »

Goofs

At the Panama Club, Eddie's glass of milk and the other two drinks disappear from the table just before the table gets flipped over and the brawl sequence begins. See more »

Quotes

George Halley: [In the shell hole: Eddie offers a cigarette to George. He in turn takes it, and then picks out bugs that apparently infest everything] Ah, look at that. Them cooties are gettin' desperate: they're feedin' off tobacco.
Eddie Bartlett: How much can a cootie smoke?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Malcolm X (1992) 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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