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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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Ruthless hood Johnny Eager is pretending to his parole officer that he has chucked the rackets and is now a full-time taxi driver. In fact, he's as deep in as he ever was and desperately needs official permission to open his new dog track. When he meets up with Lisbeth Bard, he finds he not only has a stunning new girlfriend but a possible way to get his permit. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
In one of the bedrooms in Johnny's apartment at the track is a large painting, done in the art deco style, of a reclining blonde woman. Coincidentally, this same painting is featured briefly but prominently in Eyes in the Night (1942), released the same year and also starring Edward Arnold, referred to in that film by Marty as "a blonde tomato." See more »
In the scene where Johnny is asking Benjy about the cop that won't let him put in slot machines, Benjy hands him a note with the cop's badge number (#711) on it which he unfolds before handing to Johnny. Then we see Johnny unfolding it again. See more »
(Also known as "Melancholy Baby" and "My Melancholy Baby")
Music by Ernie Burnett
Played during the opening and closing credits
Played as dance music by the band at Tony Luce's place
Played as background music often See more »
Cabbie by day, gangster by night, and hunk - always!
Robert Taylor is a reformed gangster on parole at the beginning of "Johnny Eager." After meeting with his parole officer and two sociology students - one of whom is the gorgeous Lana Turner - Johnny transforms himself into the gangster he has remained. It's in this identity that he runs into Turner again at a nightclub. The gangster interests her more than the cabbie. Little does he know, her father is the prosecutor who has an injunction to keep a dog track from opening in which Johnny has a financial stake.
According to Lana Turner, she and Taylor flirted and made out, and Taylor told Stanwyck he wanted a divorce. Turner didn't want to break up the marriage and told Taylor it was no go. Stanwyck, however, never spoke to Turner again. Turner and Taylor make a beautiful couple and they sizzle on screen.
Both turn in excellent performances. Turner plays a love-struck, vulnerable young woman who will do anything to protect her man - she's great. Taylor, sporting a mustache, is terrific as Johnny - a goody two shoes around his parole officer, a mean, selfish tough guy around everyone else. He has no idea how to love or to be loved.
Van Heflin won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Johnny's friend Jeff, an alcoholic philosopher and Johnny's conscience. Heflin plays up the sensitivity of Jeff and his love for Johnny, giving the role gay overtones. He is fantastic.
If you're under the impression that Taylor and Turner were just two of Hollywood's non-acting pretty people, think again. During their careers, both played many worthwhile roles and played them well. If the critics dismissed them because of their looks, or in Turner's case, the headlines she garnered in her private life, too bad, but the audience always got their money's worth with these two pros.
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