6.1/10
193
8 user 4 critic

Never Steal Anything Small (1959)

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 »

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jake MacIllaney
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Linda Cabot
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Dan Cabot
...
Winnipeg Simmons
...
Pinelli
...
Words Cannon
...
Lt. Tevis
...
O. K. Merritt
...
Ginger
...
Sleep-Out Charlie Barnes
...
Lennie
...
Hymie
...
Ed Barton
...
Ward (as John Duke)
Jack Orrison ...
Osborne
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Storyline

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, Linda, MacIllaney breaks up their marriage, pursues Linda, and pins a grand larceny rap on Dan. And all set to music! Written by Ray Hamel <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

union | gangster | based on play | See All (3) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 April 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster amore e... una Ferrari  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening titles: This picture is sympathetically dedicated to labor and its problems in coping with a new and merry type of public enemy...the charming, well-dressed gentleman who cons his way to a union throne. And never needs to blow a safe again. See more »

Soundtracks

Never Steal Anything Small
Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson
Performed by James Cagney
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User Reviews

 
Singing And Dancing On the Waterfront
14 July 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

James Cagney in his autobiography said that he never ran his old films at home with the exception of the musicals. Those he ran continuously and he regretted he didn't do more of them.

Which is probably why towards the end of his film career he decided on a musical which had a certain amount of potential, but went sadly awry. Labor Unions were a big news back in the day. The hearings held by the McClellan Committee in the Senate made the doings of the Teamster's Union presidents, David Beck and Jimmy Hoffa front page headlines. There were any number of exposes showing how organized crime was muscling into honest unions. The Taft-Hartley law was a perennial issue back then with Democrats wanting to repeal it and Republicans staunchly in favor.

The songs by Allie Wrubel and Maxwell Anderson were singularly unmemorable and the comedy in Never Steal Anything Small is forced. However James Cagney is such a dynamic performer that he's put over far worse.

Roger Smith who played a straight arrow lawyer was a protégé of Cagney's back then. He played Cagney's son in Man of a Thousand Faces and after this film with a plug from Cagney to his old boss Jack Warner got cast in the television series 77 Sunset Strip.

My favorite in the film is Cara Williams. She's got the part that Joan Blondell or Gladys George would have played opposite Cagney back in the day. Williams is a worthy successor to both those women.

There is one true incident in Never Steal Anything Small. At one point Cagney nearly gets acid thrown in his face. There was just such an incident involving columnist Victor Riesel which was more successful and left him blind. But Riesel was a far more noble character than the one Cagney plays here.

Though in the end Cagney does show he has some scruples where women are concerned.


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