Jake MacIllaney will do just about anything to win the presidential election of longshoreman union Local 26. When he encounters young upright attorney Dan Cabot and Cabot's attractive wife,... See full summary »
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 »
John Jones' daughter is rehearsing the Gettysburg Address in preparation for a school elocution when he is called away by an air raid alarm. He sits alone in the evening and contemplates ... See full summary »
Lou Ricarno is a smart guy. His plan is to organize the various gangs in Chicago so that the mugs will not liquidate each other. WIth the success of his leadership, Louie prospers, marries ... See full summary »
McCord's gang robs the stage carrying money to pay Indians for their land, and the notorious outlaw "The Oklahoma Kid" Jim Kincaid takes the money from McCord. McCord stakes a "sooner" ... See full summary »
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »
One of the occasional independent efforts that the legendary Jimmy Cagney made away from the Warner Bros. studios,JOHNNY COME LATELY is a rather slow,stately melodrama of small-town political corruption near the beginning of the 20th century which is saved by a cast of familiar Hollywood character actors and some enjoyable scenes.Cagney is watchable as always,but kudos here mainly go to Grace George,a veteran stage actress whose only sound film this was.(She appeared in one silent film in the 1910's) Miss George's dignified and distinguished presence is the best aspect the film has going for it;it is a shame she never made another as she would've been a respectable and welcome addition to any film before or afterwards.
Leigh Harline's incessant,cloying musical score is a frequent and irritating distraction,but producer William Cagney(Jimmy's brother) has filled the picture with some popular and well-liked character players such as Margaret Hamilton,Hattie McDaniel,Lucien Littlefield,George Cleveland,Irving Bacon and Arthur Hunnicutt in some good cameos.The inimitable Marjorie Main comes off best as an ageing night-club hostess.Aside from some occasional familiar tough guy frissions(such as a chair being hurled,and a fist fight and shootout),Cagney is oddly subdued as a journalist turned hobo,and his character is essentially decent and honourable.His scenes with Miss George are quietly observational and low-key,but all the better for it and often rather touching.
It may have been somewhat better with big studio backing,but the production values are adequate,though William K. Howard's direction could have been pacier.The best scenes are towards the end when the townspeople stage an uprising against the corrupt politician Dougherty (Edward MacNamara),but his change of mind shortly afterwards doesn't really ring true.Cagney apparently considered his film one of his favourites.It isn't particularly one of his best,compared to such classics as THE PUBLIC ENEMY,YANKEE DOODLE DANDY and WHITE HEAT,but it's still worth a look.
RATING:Six and a half out of Ten
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?