Saturday, January 5, 2013

Larceny, Inc. (1942)

Director: Lloyd Bacon

Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Jane Wyman, Broderick Crawford, Jack Carson, Anthony Quinn, Edward Brophy, Harry Davenport, John Qualen, Jackie Gleason

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Hold on to your hearts girls!!! Here comes the racket king!

Plot: On release from Sing Sing, 'Pressure' Maxwell wants to go into legal business; his pal 'Jug' Martin would rather join fellow inmate Leo's bank robbery scheme. A compromise is reached when Pressure buys a luggage shop next to the bank in question. Pressure, Jug, and their friend Weepy's biggest problem is keeping paying customers out of the store! Should they give up crime? That path has unexpected roadblocks...


My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

Gee whiz I love this movie!  James Cagney is my favorite actor but Edward G. Robinson is a close second.  I've yet to see a movie of either of theirs that I didn't enjoy.  Robinson cracks me up.  Like Cagney, he could keep you on the edge of your seat as a badass gangster, tug at your emotions playing a sympathetic character (like SCARLET STREET (1945) or make you wet yourself with laughter.  This movie is hilarious!!!

PRESSURE: This is a job that requires finesse.
JUG: Who's Finesse?

That exchange might sound corny but when it's flying past you at 90 miles an hour without any chance of a breather it's friggin' funny as hell.

Here's one of my favorite scenes...

The more frustrated Pressure gets the funnier it is.  One thing I dig about flicks like this from this era is the professionalism.  Everyone in front of the camera and behind does their best and it shows.  Hell, the casting alone should be enough evidence of that.  Each actor seems perfectly fit to their roles and there's not a remotely bad performance in the bunch.  And the couple of brief scenes with Jackie Gleason had me in stitches.  He barely says a word but his facial expressions are incredibly funny.  If all you've ever seen of Robinson is LITTLE CAESAR (1931) you owe it to yourself to see his other side as a skilled comedic actor.  He plays it mostly straight but it's the little things he throws in that makes it special.

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