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 <email@example.com>
This marked the end of James Cagney's cycle of gangster films for Warner Bros. Cagney wanted to diversify his roles and would not play a gangster again until White Heat (1949), ten years later. See more »
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 »
[the men are taking cover in a bombed-out farmhouse, shooting at German soldiers somewhere off-screen. Lloyd takes aim at a German soldier, but hesitates, then lowers his rifle]
Whatsa' matta', "Harvard," did you lose the Heine?
No... but he looks like a kid, about 15 years old.
[Aims his rifle and without any hesitation shoots the young German soldier]
He won't be sixteen.
[Seconds later, a fellow soldier rushes in to tell them the war is over, the Armistice has been signed]
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Most of the famous gangster films were made in the early part of the decade, before the infamous Production Code took all the sex and violence out of the movies, and before they figured out how to make decent movies with sound. The landmark films of the genre like "Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy" are actually kind of poorly made, by modern standards.
Not so this entertaining film, it's full of life and energy and great fun to watch. James Cagney gives a wonderful performance as a dynamic and ambitious man who goes from a barely-eating taxi driver to a gang lord, and back again. Humphrey Bogart gives one of his best pre-Casablanca villain performances, and even generic leading lady Priscilla Land is fresh and likeable.
The only quibble I have with this film is it lacks the immediacy of the earlier "ripped from the headlines" films. It's made about days that had since gone by, and owes more to earlier films than the reality of the day (post-modernism in the thirties?). Still, it's great fun, do see it.
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