Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Public Enemy (1931)

Local thug (James Cagney) earns a living as a thug.

The 30's had many gangster films, some fairly interesting. Like Scarface, we watch the rise and fall of a ruthless thug in the guise of a cautionary tale. Unlike Scarface, the story is only mildly amusing. Rife with clumsy camera work, the clumsy story showcases Cagney's better than fair acting and signature mannerisms (see Johnny Dangerously). Being early in the soundie era, the actors had to over project their voices.

Jean Harlow appears in a very early role. Not sure how she got to be such a sex symbol. For my money, I'd take old friend Joan Blondell. Or even Mae Clarke, whom some may remember as the young ingenue in Frankenstein. She got the pineapple treatment here.

A key film in the genre and definitely worth a viewing. Just don't expect to have your socks knocked off. AMRU 3.
"Why that dirty, no good, yellow-bellied stool. I'm gonna give it to him right in the head the first time I see him."

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