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William A. Wellman
'Nobody helps me -- I help them!' boasts open-handed gangster Bull Weed, handing over what will prove to be the best investment in his high-spending career: a thousand dollars that will put the literate 'Rolls Royce' of vagrants back on his feet. Living it up in the Twenties with the aid of cool but smouldering moll Feathers, the Bull lords it over the law and his rivals alike -- specifically big Buck Mulligan, whose floral-tributes business echoes that of a certain real-life Chicago gangster... Yet Feathers, prize possession and object of envy, proves his weak point; and in the end, Bull Weed will indeed come to need help from others, and more than he has ever needed it before. But can Rolls Royce and Feathers still give it to him? And will the Bull accept?Written by
The film was predicted to be a flop, was shelved by Paramount and eventually released in only one theater in New York. Screenwriter Ben Hecht demanded that his name was taken off the credits. As a result of strong word-of-mouth the movie became an enormous hit and won Hecht the first of his two Academy Awards. See more »
[Referring to Rolls Royce]
Look at him - Cost me a thousand - Looks like a million.
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Bull Weed is a boisterous gangster bank robber. His girlfriend is the flashy Feathers McCoy. His rival is Buck Mulligan. Wensel is a vagrant but he's no snitch. He's a Rolls Royce of silence. Bull gives Rolls Royce a thousand bucks and makes him a partner in crime. Using Rolls Royce's brains, Bull becomes even more successful. At a wild party, Buck attacks Feathers and an angry drunken Bull kills him. Bull is sent to prison. Feathers convinces Rolls Royce to run away with her but she changes her mind to break him out of prison.
This is a great pre-Depression era gangster movie. It has the classic gangster style and characters. It's a silent movie that lays out the genre that would explode a few years later. This is one in a line of developments in the gangster genre.
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