Rico is a small-time hood who knocks off gas stations for whatever he can take. He heads east and signs up with Sam Vettori's mob. A New Year's Eve robbery at Little Arnie Lorch's casino ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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 »
After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
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 »
[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.
How much can a cootie smoke?
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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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