A classic early crime drama
Throughout the 1930's, Warner Brothers delivered many quality crime and gangster dramas that usually featured the likes of the studio's distinguished contract star roster. This 1938 release is one of the prime examples. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien (who were frequently cast in films together and this is their best one together) portray boyhood buddies who reunite years later after Cagney is released from prison where he had served for many years for a petty crime that he committed while he was still a kid. Cagney has not learned his lesson that crime doesn't pay and so he returns to his old neighborhood to set up his criminal hideout. Meanwhile, his old friend, O'Brien has given up being a street hood and has since become a respected priest who naturally doesn't think highly of the life that his friend has chosen for himself. To make matters worse, six young boys (portrayed by the Dead End Kids) whom O'Brien is trying to lead down the right paths begin to idolize Cagney. Humphrey Bogart also appears in a pre big box office star part as a lawyer and screen veteran George Bancroft also costars as a dishonest crime boss. Michael Curtiz' direction and Max Steiner's musical score are also highlights. This film is one of the all time great ones of the 1930's and an excellent showcase for its legendary cast and crew.
- Oct 22, 2002
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