Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

July 26, 2011

64. The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, Gladys George, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly

Directed by Raoul Walsh

Plot: "Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I." (from IMDb)

I thought the acting and story were great in this. Everything, really, just made for a topnotch and very engaging production. I can't say that gangster flicks are really my thing, but I enjoy watching Bogart and Cagney. Besides them, I thought Gladys George was exceptional; she was a very expressive actor who was able to convey a great deal of feeling without saying too much. As Panama Smith, she was perfect for the part and rather underrated in general, I think. I also liked the newsreel format of the film. It is a good way to weave the different years together and illustrate the time period. I'm not usually one for sad endings, but this one just works; it’s hard to imagine any other way to conclude it.

I can't really say that this is a film that I'll watch a lot, because it is kind of depressing, but there is no doubt that it is Warner Brothers at its best—and definitely worth a viewing.


I really love the intro credits—the font and how it shimmers a bit against the skyscape.

Cagney plays Eddie, a basically good guy who is driven to crime by some bad breaks.

I never noticed before how Cagney does that thing with his lip. He does it quite a few times in this.

“I do alright, any time, any place.”

Quintessential baddie Bogart, before he hit it big with stardom. I have to say he does make a great bad guy, and adds a lot to the movie.

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