7.9/10
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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 October 1939 (USA)
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
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Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
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Henderson (as Ed Keane)
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The Sergeant - Pete Jones
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Michaels
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Masters
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Judge
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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:

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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

After the release of this film, producer Mark Hellinger received a telegram from New York that read: "We are all sitting here in the Stork Club discussing your new picture. We are glad 'The Roaring Twenties' rates four stars and we wish we could be present to give you the remaining four-four. We love you. Walter Winchell, Louis Sobol, Damon Runyon, Rudy Vallee, Eddie Dowling, George M. Cohan, Sam Harris, Frank Buck, Buddy G. DeSylva, James J. Walker, Ted Husing, Ricardo Cortez, Sidney Clare, Bert Wheeler, Bert Lahr, Marc Lachmann, Clem McCarthy, Mack Gordon, Curley Harris, Jay C. Flippen, Dan Parker, Murray Lewin". See more »

Goofs

The film is full of classic songs from the 1920s, but the arrangements and vocal styles are those of 1939. No attempt is made to reproduce the actual sound of 1920s dance music. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Bartlett: [Eddie, in his Army uniform, returns to his old place of employment - a garage - seeking to get his job back. He speaks to his former boss] Hello, Mr. Fletcher.
Mr. Fletcher: [Surprised to see Eddie] Why, when did you blow in?
Eddie Bartlett: Just now. Sure good to be back.
Mr. Fletcher: I'll bet it is. What are you gonna' do?
Eddie Bartlett: Oh, rest up a couple of days, see a few of the boys, and then I'm ready to go to work.
Mr. Fletcher: That's fine. Whaddya' gonna' do? Where ya' gonna' work?
Eddie Bartlett: [Confused] Whaddya' mean, "Where am I gonna' work"? I was gonna' come back...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

The Japanese Sandman
(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Played at the club when Eddie smashes Henderson's cigar
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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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