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The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 28 October 1939 (USA)
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Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Jerry Wald (screen play), Richard Macaulay (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Eddie Bartlett
Priscilla Lane ... Jean Sherman
Humphrey Bogart ... George Hally
Gladys George ... Panama Smith
Jeffrey Lynn ... Lloyd Hart
Frank McHugh ... Danny Green
Paul Kelly ... Nick Brown
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Sherman (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Edward Keane ... Henderson (as Ed Keane)
Joe Sawyer ... The Sergeant - Pete Jones
Joseph Crehan ... Michaels
George Meeker ... Masters
John Hamilton ... Judge
Robert Elliott ... First Detective
Eddy Chandler Eddy Chandler ... Second Detective (as Eddie Chandler)
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Storyline

After the WWI Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie's partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1920 . . . Bootleggers, Jazz, Babe Ruth, Speakeasies, Jack Dempsey, Dames, Molls, Easy Living - Quick Dying . . . the torrid . . . blazing . . . wild . . . lush . . . lurid - ROARING TWENTIES ! ! ! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The World Moves On See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Hellinger was relatively new on staff at Warner Brothers and had been given various "B"-picture writing and producing assignments. According to "The Mark Hellinger Story" by Jim Bishop, after initially reading Hellinger's story for this film, studio boss Jack L. Warner and production chief Hal B. Wallis became so excited that they considered the project too good for Hellinger to produce. Wallis became Executive Producer and told Hellinger he would give him the title of Associate Producer. It wasn't until after the film was released that Hellinger saw that screen credit for Associate Producer had gone to Samuel Bischoff. It didn't matter to Hellinger, however, as the film was unanimously praised by critics and was a financial success. See more »

Goofs

When Jean is singing "It Had to Be You" as Eddie and George hijack trucks from a warehouse, Panama is sitting at a table with her hands folded in front of her. The only thing on the table is a drink and what appears to be a center piece that could be a candle. Jean walks & sings her way thru the audience past Panama, until Jean's body blocks the camera's view of Panama for a brief moment. Then when Jean takes a step, for a split second, Panama can be seen, in the darkened background smoking. She was not holding a cigarette and there was no smoke from one in an ashtray, as Jean passed the table. A few moments later the song ends, there is a cut back to Panama and she is sitting in her original pose with hands clasped in front of her, again. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: 1929. As the dizzy decade nears its end, the country is stock market crazy. The great and the humble... the rich man and the working man... the housewife and the shop girl. All take their daily flyer in the market, and no one seems to lose. Then like a bombshell comes that never-to-be-forgotten Black Tuesday, October 29. Confusion spreads throught the canyons of New York's financial district. And men stare wild-eyed at the spectacle of complete ruin. More than 16 and a half million shares ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Another Time, Another Place (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Just Wild About Harry
(1921) (uncredited)
Music by Eubie Blake
Lyrics by Noble Sissle
Played during the opening and closing credits
Also played during the 1922 montage
Sung by Priscilla Lane at the club
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bullets blondes and bootleg
20 December 2005 | by ptb-8See all my reviews

It is hard to believe so many truly great films were made in 1939, and I can only guess that the sheer volume of excellent pix from that year is the only reason why THE ROARING TWENTIES does not have truly major classic status. 1939 seems to be cluttered with a plethora of cinematic riches, thus burying this astonishing and entertaining crime film. I also have been roaring (with laughter) at some of the astonishing silly comments also on this film's viewer comments page: from: "Blondell's haircut is worth the price of a ticket" (Joan Blondell is not in this film, sweetie, read the credits!) - to '"Another MGM gem"...hello? pal, the opening of the film has a great big shield with WB stamped on it followed by "Warner Bros Presents". Almost everyone commenting then proceeds to tell the whole story, each one after each one as thought they are the only person writing a comment. Yeesh. I am the only person who firstly reads what is already there in order to NOT duplicate plot points or characters or the same old same old same old? For genuine long lasting flabbergastering I prefer the movie's solid direction by Raoul Walsh the sensational crackling screenplay by Mark Hellinger and Jerry Wald and mostly the truly major performance by James Cagney. This role and it's ride is possibly the best I have ever seen from him, especially in the latter scenes on skid-row. It's a very mean cruel story with Bogart's jawdropping viciousness several points above censorship rulings - all thankfully intact and now in crisp DVD clarity. The production values are equally solid well decorated nightclubs and houses and rooms and very believable and expansive sets and scenes - especially in the WW1 intro. Yes it even has a terrific Citizen Kane style march of time newsreel tone and urgency. This is a genuine gangster masterpiece and well worth finding and sharing with other vintage WB (not MGM) crime buffs. THE ROARING TWENTIES deserves to be one of the most famous gangster films for everyone of its plot, acting , character and production qualities - they are all there on show. I would love to know the budget and the box office. I know the film was a big hit but exactly how big? It deserved to be massive. Also, the best saddest role of a lifetime to the superb and endearing Gladys George as Panama. As if everything else wasn't perfect enough! This film is a collectors must-have. If remade today, it would be exactly the same, such is it's timeless tone and production. In fact it is had to believe it was made 20 years earlier than SOME LIKE IT HOT. Both films look identical. Don't waste another day, put THE ROARING TWENTIES top of your must see list.


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