Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.
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Cagney is Danny Kenny, a truck driver who enters "the fight game" and Sheridan plays his girlfriend, Peggy. Danny realizes success in the ring and uses his income to pay for his brother Eddie's music composition career, while Peggy goes on to become a professional dancer. When Peggy turns down Danny's marriage proposal for her dancing career, Danny, who wanted to quit the fight game, continues on & is blinded by rosin dust purposely placed on the boxing gloves of his opponent during a fight. His former manager finances a newsstand for the now semi-blind Danny. The movie ends with brother Eddie becoming a successful composer and dedicates a symphony at Carnegie Hall to his brother who listens to the concert on the radio from his newsstand. Peggy, now down on her luck, but in the audience at Carnegie, rushes to Danny at his newsstand where they reunite. The movie is based on a novel of the same name. Written by
Before Kazan was a big-time director, he played a terrific small-time thug.
I saw this movie a long time ago (about 1968) and was quite impressed by the story, acting, and filming. Cagney plays a typical role for him--the decent little guy who's out to do big things but gets beaten down by the bad guys. As in "Angels with Dirty Faces" and "Torrid Zone," he teams up well with Ann Sheridan. Ann worked often and well with the movie tough guys of the late 30's and early 40's (e.g. John Garfield, George Raft, et al) but seems to have become rather forgotten over the years. All I remember of the Arthur Kennedy role is him sitting at a piano in a New York apartment composing a symphony, which he ultimately succeeds in doing due to the sacrifices of his on-screen brother played by Cagney. As I recall, the symphony is titled "City for Conquest."
The ending of the film is exceptionally moving. But for me the best and most memorable sequences were those few brief scenes involving Elia Kazan as Googi Zucco. With his cocky bearing and slick black hair, Kazan plays as good a mob-like thug as anyone I've ever seen.
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