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City for Conquest (1940)

Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.

Directors:

Anatole Litvak, Jean Negulesco (uncredited)

Writers:

John Wexley (screen play), Aben Kandel (from the novel by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Danny Kenny
Ann Sheridan ... Peggy Nash
Frank Craven ... Old Timer
Donald Crisp ... Scotty MacPherson
Frank McHugh ... 'Mutt'
Arthur Kennedy ... Eddie Kenny
George Tobias ... 'Pinky'
Jerome Cowan ... 'Dutch'
Elia Kazan ... 'Googi'
Anthony Quinn ... Murray Burns
Lee Patrick ... Gladys
Blanche Yurka ... Mrs. Nash
George Lloyd ... 'Goldie'
Joyce Compton ... Lilly
Thurston Hall ... Max Leonard
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Storyline

Cagney is Danny Kenny, a truck driver who enters "the fight game" and Sheridan plays his girlfriend, Peggy. Danny realizes success in the ring and uses his income to pay for his brother Eddie's music composition career, while Peggy goes on to become a professional dancer. When Peggy turns down Danny's marriage proposal for her dancing career, Danny, who wanted to quit the fight game, continues on & is blinded by rosin dust purposely placed on the boxing gloves of his opponent during a fight. His former manager finances a newsstand for the now semi-blind Danny. The movie ends with brother Eddie becoming a successful composer and dedicates a symphony at Carnegie Hall to his brother who listens to the concert on the radio from his newsstand. Peggy, now down on her luck, but in the audience at Carnegie, rushes to Danny at his newsstand where they reunite. The movie is based on a novel of the same name. Written by Bacardi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story with all the fire and fury of its two great stars!

Genres:

Drama | Music | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ciudad de conquista See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner Library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Danny's newsstand is in the Times Square area - note the signs in the background for the Hotel Astor on Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets (demolished in 1967), Hector's Cafeteria, and the Realto Theatre at 1481 Broadway (demolished in 2002). See more »

Goofs

Obvious matte paintings of motionless spectators are used to simulate the back rows and upper tier of the boxing arena. See more »

Quotes

'Googi': [His dying words after being shot by a hoodlum he thought was unarmed] Ah gee, never figured on that at all.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In a part similar to his Stage Manager in "Our Town", Frank Craven appears as "Old Timer", the "host" of "City for Conquest" in a sort of Greek chorus style. As the producers of the film were of the opinion that the character's narration was unnecessary, and slowed the movie down, Craven's scenes were cut prior to the film's original release in 1940. Totaling five or so minutes of screen time, this cut material was not seen until it was restored in a 2006 DVD release. Older prints not containing this material run approximately 98 minutes; the restored print runs 104 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Words Are in My Heart
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
First number played during the waltz contest montage
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Unconquerable Kenny Brothers
2 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

As working class stiff Danny Kenny who drives a truck for a living, James Cagney created one of his most unforgettable screen heroes and one of my favorite Cagney films in City for Conquest.

No studio could do a working class film like Warner Brothers and this is one of the best. It does get melodramatic and has large doses of sentimentality with it, but never to extreme.

For a guy who eventually makes his living as a prizefighter, Danny Kenny is one of the gentlest heroes James Cagney brought to the screen. His greatest pleasures are found in the girl friend he has from the neighborhood, Ann Sheridan, and in listening to the music creations of his brother Ed, played by Arthur Kennedy in his film debut. Kennedy has ambitions to be a serious composer and Sheridan has ambitions herself to get out of the Lower East Side of New York via show business as a dancer. To realize those ambitions she hooks up with a no good dancer/gigolo in Anthony Quinn.

So Cagney who if he had his way would have been content to spend his life driving a truck, to help Kennedy with his dream and to win Ann Sheridan back, takes up boxing. It all results in some terrible sacrifices he makes for both of them.

Director Anatole Litvak gave Cagney and Sheridan a fine supporting cast to help carry the story along. Donald Crisp is Cagney's manager, Frank McHugh in his ever familiar role as best friend, and future director Elia Kazan as another pal from the neighborhood who becomes a gangster,

Kazan exacts some vengeance on Cagney's behalf, but then pays for it himself in a never to be forgotten death scene.

My suggestion is that when you watch City for Conquest do it alone, because if you do it alone you might more easily give way to tears at Arthur Kennedy's dedication to his symphony to his brother.

Unless you cry better in a group. Kennedy's performance and this scene in particular insured that man of the long and great career he had.

But the film is really for James Cagney fans in every generation.


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