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Jimmy the Gent (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 17 March 1934 (USA)
An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Bertram Millhauser (screen play) (as Bertram Milhauser), Laird Doyle (story "The Heir Chaser") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Jimmy Corrigan
Bette Davis ... Joan Martin
Allen Jenkins ... Louie
Alan Dinehart ... Charles Wallingham
Alice White ... Mabel
Arthur Hohl ... Joe Rector
Phillip Reed ... Ronny Gatson
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Fake Worthingham
Mayo Methot ... Gladys Farrell
Renee Whitney ... Bessie - Switchboard Operator
Ralf Harolde ... Hendrickson (as Ralfe Harolde)
Merna Kennedy ... Jitters - Typist
Philip Faversham ... Intern Blair
Nora Lane ... Sarah Posy Barton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Treen ... Nurse (scenes deleted)
Learn more

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Storyline

Unscrupulous investigator of lost heirs Jimmy Corrigan loses his love Joan Martin to apparently upright competitor James Wallingham. He counters by adding a veneer of respectability to his own operation. Meanwhile he exposes Wallingham for a fraud. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's the BIGGEST CHISELER since MICHAELANGELO! Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Were PIKERS compared ti this RED-HAIRED SON-OF-A-GUN!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jimmy Cagney utters the phrase, "the dirty rat", which will be used as his catch-phrase for years to come. See more »

Goofs

When Joan arrives at the pier to board the Blue Anchor Line, there is an overhead sign that reads "1st. Cabin Baggage". But on the previous cut when Wallingham was boarding the same pier and line, that sign was not there. See more »

Quotes

Lou: [Jimmy writing a telegram] Can't you put somethin' in it that will make it sound more like him?
'Jimmy' Corrigan: Like what?
Lou: Some English word.
'Jimmy' Corrigan: I only finished half of that shelf of books. I don't know any of that English stuff.
Lou: How about, eh, cheerio.
'Jimmy' Corrigan: Say, yeah, that sounds English. Cheerio.
See more »


Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night
(1853) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung a cappella by Hobart Cavanaugh and Eddie Shubert
See more »

User Reviews

 
A speedy but empty, facile comedy that could've been much more!
8 June 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Jimmy the Gent (1934)

As an old-film lover, I'm going to have to disagree with the majority of reviewers here and say this film is too flawed and formulaic to rise above its peers. Even its star, James Cagney, is a bit rote and predictable, taking on a harsh edge that prevents any depth to his supposedly complicated character. The other star is in retrospect—this is an early Bette Davis appearance, and she's wonderful to see so unformed, but she, too, is playing a common role.

All is not disaster here, for sure. The pace is terrific, and turns of plot, which are a problem overall in their quick succession, keep you on your toes. There are stock characters in secondary roles who will be familiar to early Warner Bros. fans, and the filming is generally solid, if bright and a bit dull, too.

Yes, there are hesitations at every turn. Director Michael Curtiz has been cranking out films by the dozen for Hollywood by now, after emigrating from Europe, and many of those are frankly better and worth seeking out. But he's a long way from the mastery of "Casablanca" or "Mildred Pierce," as a director above all.

The story here seems workable—Cagney and Davis play characters who scheme a complicated scam involving a huge inheritance. The twists are basically a farce because there are so many and they happen without warning. In fact, I think the style of the film is to have everything just "happen" in a madcap way, and the audience is to be dazzled and impressed by the audacity of the writers. But there is a little sense of involvement that would help very much, a wanting the characters to win or lose at their efforts. One example is how two court cases are reduced to a single sentence each: the judges reading their conclusion.

That seems dandy in a way, a hugely streamlined plot. But it defines superficial, too. In these two cases, there is time spent watching the courtroom crowd reacting to the news, but we don't really care about that. We aren't made to care.

Not that this should be a drama, of course. It's a comedy plain and simple. And a slip of romance sneaks in as our two leads brush past each other now and then. All of it is interesting, and it's never quite boring. But for a fast pre-Code or early Code era movie, there are many examples that are fast, funny, and engrossing and inventive, too. Expect only the effects here.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Always a Gent See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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