Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hard to Handle (1933)

Director: Mervyn LeRoy

Starring: James Cagney, Mary Brian, Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly, Claire Dodd, Robert McWade

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Hey, Folks!... I'm back!

Plot: Small time con artist Lefty Merrill has co-organized a crooked dance marathon and set-up his girlfriend to win the prize money. When his partner disappears with money before the contest is over, he's forced to come up with a series of cons to help pay it back.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Of course.

I can't get enough Cagney lately. The guy's a class act. This picture is a hoot with Cagney trying to make a fast buck left and right. He's a schemer and a charmer. Comedies like this one move very fast and there's never (if ever) a dull moment. The performances all around are fun, the dialogue's fast and the double entendres are all over the place. I love pre-code talkies. Naturally, Cagney is the real draw here and he's as strong as ever. For all of the fast-paced comedy there's a scene at the end where Lefty (Cagney) has to find out if the gold-digging girl he loves would feel the same way if he were penniless and in jail. It only lasts a few seconds but it's so tender and genuine that I started to tear up. As always, though, they follow the scene up with something uplifting and very funny. Fun picture. Most of Cagney's pictures aren't on DVD so you'll have to set your DVDRs to Turner Classic Movies (TCM). I haven't had pay TV in years and I sure do miss that channel.

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