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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 »
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From the trial of the survivors, we flash back to amoral crook Ralph Cotter's violent prison break, assisted by Holiday Carleton, sister of another prisoner...who doesn't make it. Soon Ralph manipulates the grieving Holiday into his arms, and two crooked cops follow her into his pocket. Ralph's total lack of scruple brings him great success in a series of robberies. But his easy conquest of gullible heiress Margaret Dobson proves more dangerous to him than any crime... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
James Cagney pulled off one of his greatest gangster roles fairly late in his career in 1949's White Heat. You could see he was starting to get a little pudgy in the midsection and gray around the temples for that kind of role, but he still pulled it off.....big-time. What a lot of people don't remember is that he did it one more time - with this film, the following year.
Yup, "Cody Jarrett" was in business for one more tough-guy gangster character. Here, he plays "Ralph Cotter," and he is one nasty dude. It's great to watch Jimmy doing his cocky-thug routine. I wish he could have gone on forever.
The supporting cast, led by Ward Bond, was very good in this film and worth noting. It isn't just all Cagney. Barbara Peyton is realistic as the tough blonde and Helena Carter as the spoiled rich man's daughter. Both are decent at heart and vie for Cagney's affections.
Included in here are crooked cops, a crooked lawyer and other assorted characters. It's a rough movie. Nobody is trustworthy in this story, which is interesting all the way. It should be better known.
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