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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
THE SCREEN'S MOST COLORFUL STAR...in a story of America's most dazzling era...the torrid...wild...lust...ROARING TWENTIES!!! (print ad - Lubbock Evening Journal - Palace Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - Dec. 4, 1939) See more »
Based on the life of bootlegger Larry Fay. Unlike James Cagney's Eddie Bartlett, however, Fay was 6'3", long-jawed, and gangly. Also, Fay died on New Year's Day of 1932. Dwindling finances had forced him to cut costs at his New York nightclub, the El Fay. After Fay told the doorman at the club that his pay was going to be reduced, the doorman pulled a revolver and shot him four times. Fay collapsed backward onto a sofa and died. The character of Panama Smith was partially based on nightclub hostess Texas Guinan, who was Larry Fay's partner in the El-Fay. See more »
On November 11, 1918, while Eddie, George, and Lloyd are shooting at the enemy, George says, "Prohibition law goes in next year." How would anyone know that then? By November 11, 1918, only 14 of the 36 states needed had ratified the 18th amendment. The 36th state, Nebraska, ratified it on January 16, 1919, giving the US one more year before prohibition went into effect on January 17, 1920. Granted, New York state was partially "dry" by 1918. See more »
If I Could Be with You
Music by James P. Johnson
Played on the radio when Eddie confronts George
Also played at the club when Panama breaks the news to Eddie See more »
Two of the most famous actors of their day - James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart - are featured here, along with two very interesting women (Priscilla Lane and Gladys George). That foursome would be fun to join anywhere.
Lane is the wholesome pretty girl and George is the tough female bar owner. The latter may not look as good but she delivers the best film noir lines in the movie near the end.
In addition, Jefferey Lynn is good as the clean-cut, nice-guy attorney and Frank McHugh draws laughs as Cagney's buddy (as in real life). Paul Kelly is convincing as a hood.
With this cast, you know you are going to get a well-acted movie. It moves at a good pace, too, with few lulls. The gangster language of the period was fun to hear.
The first time I saw this film I was disappointed. Maybe I expected too much. On the second viewing, I throughly enjoyed it. Having a great DVD transfer on the second viewing didn't hurt, either. It's a nice sharp picture.
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