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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 7,556 users  
Reviews: 68 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 ...
The Sergeant
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:

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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Melancholy Baby", a pre WWI song, was first introduced in the "tavern circuit" by William Frawley (Fred Mertz of "I love Lucy"). A predominate tune in this film, it later surfaced in _Johnny Eagar (1941)_ and Scarlet Street (1945). See more »

Goofs

In the first scene in the foxhole, Cagney mentions cork tipped cigarettes. These weren't invented till 1936. See more »

Quotes

George Halley: [In the shell hole, battle raging overhead] What's a matta' kid? Ya' scared?
Lloyd Hart: Yes I am.
George Halley: [Chuckles unsympathetically] No heart, huh?
Lloyd Hart: I'm beginning to think so. At least I haven't got any heart for this. I thought this business would be over with before I got here.
George Halley: What, are you a college kid?
Lloyd Hart: I just finished law school.
Eddie Bartlett: Oh, a lawyer, huh? Can you think of anything that can get us out of this hole?
George Halley: Aw, he wouldn't if he could. He's one of them guys that cheer the loudest back home, and then when ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Mademoiselle from Armentières
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the soldiers just prior mail call
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bullets blondes and bootleg
20 December 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It is hard to believe so many truly great films were made in 1939, and I can only guess that the sheer volume of excellent pix from that year is the only reason why THE ROARING TWENTIES does not have truly major classic status. 1939 seems to be cluttered with a plethora of cinematic riches, thus burying this astonishing and entertaining crime film. I also have been roaring (with laughter) at some of the astonishing silly comments also on this film's viewer comments page: from: "Blondell's haircut is worth the price of a ticket" (Joan Blondell is not in this film, sweetie, read the credits!) - to '"Another MGM gem"...hello? pal, the opening of the film has a great big shield with WB stamped on it followed by "Warner Bros Presents". Almost everyone commenting then proceeds to tell the whole story, each one after each one as thought they are the only person writing a comment. Yeesh. I am the only person who firstly reads what is already there in order to NOT duplicate plot points or characters or the same old same old same old? For genuine long lasting flabbergastering I prefer the movie's solid direction by Raoul Walsh the sensational crackling screenplay by Mark Hellinger and Jerry Wald and mostly the truly major performance by James Cagney. This role and it's ride is possibly the best I have ever seen from him, especially in the latter scenes on skid-row. It's a very mean cruel story with Bogart's jawdropping viciousness several points above censorship rulings - all thankfully intact and now in crisp DVD clarity. The production values are equally solid well decorated nightclubs and houses and rooms and very believable and expansive sets and scenes - especially in the WW1 intro. Yes it even has a terrific Citizen Kane style march of time newsreel tone and urgency. This is a genuine gangster masterpiece and well worth finding and sharing with other vintage WB (not MGM) crime buffs. THE ROARING TWENTIES deserves to be one of the most famous gangster films for everyone of its plot, acting , character and production qualities - they are all there on show. I would love to know the budget and the box office. I know the film was a big hit but exactly how big? It deserved to be massive. Also, the best saddest role of a lifetime to the superb and endearing Gladys George as Panama. As if everything else wasn't perfect enough! This film is a collectors must-have. If remade today, it would be exactly the same, such is it's timeless tone and production. In fact it is had to believe it was made 20 years earlier than SOME LIKE IT HOT. Both films look identical. Don't waste another day, put THE ROARING TWENTIES top of your must see list.


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