A classic thriller taking place in the time of prohibition. It is still great to watch the second or third time.
Unlike most people, I first saw this film with my parents while vacationing in California in 1958 and now it is almost 60 years later than I see it through the eyes of an adult. The two real stars are, of course, are James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. Both men were small of stature but they came across as giants on the screen. I think the film falls apart on at least three levels. I don't see Cagney as the kind of I-will-kill-if you-cross-me hoodlum. I don't see him as going broke from not foreseeing the stock market crash of 1929. And, I don't see him as a former racketeer winding up as a cry-me-a-river drunk and driving a cab. Now, look at Humphrey Bogart who would shoot your dog for just peeing on on a dying bush on his hard. He comes across as a tough guy on the screen but in real life he was a scrawny guy who smoked so much it killed him. Still, the film is entertaining overall and I think most people will recognize good acting when they see it, no matter if it is in black and white and a nearly 80-year-old film.
A terrific rags to riches drama/crime flick/love story with a young Cagney and Bogart at odds with each other, the law, and the times. Top shelf classic. FIVE STARS.
James Cagney gets top billing as the leader of a gang making and distributing liquor during Prohibition and Humphrey Bogart gets second page billing as his partner. They do quite well up to the great stock market crash of 1929, when some of our protagonists become winners while others dive to the bottom as losers. This is one of the best of the James Cagney crime dramas. Just a notch below Cagney’s crime masterpiece White Heat, which would come ten years later.
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