Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Director: Raoul Walsh

Writers: Mark Hellinger, Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, Robert Rossen

Composers: Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld

Starring: James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, Gladys George, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly, Elisabeth Risdon, Edward Keane, Joe Sawyer

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The land of the free gone wild! The heyday of the hotcha! The shock-crammed days G-men took ten whole years to lick!

Plot: After the WWI Armistice Lloyd Hart (Lynn) goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally (Bogart) turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett (Cagney) 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.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes!

Warner Bros. sure made some great gangster pictures back in the day.  This one is one of three pictures Cagney and Bogart made together and it's fun.  You can tell right off the bat that Hally (Bogart) is bad news and is going to ultimately lead to some serious trouble for Eddie (Cagney).  The picture is one of those 'rise to the top only to be taken down' types.  The performances are great, the music, the sets, the camera work, the whole nine yards.  It's great entertainment.  It's lighter than ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES (1938), with ANGELS being the better film bar none, but it's got the incredibly charismatic Cagney doing what he does best.  I love that guy.

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