Plenty of shoot-’em-up stuff, including some strong-arming and roughhouse tactics, this time in the guise of a technically legal and sympathetic cause – that of getting pictures of a woman being electrocuted, a crazy fireman shooting it out wih the cops, and the like.
James Cagney is a reformed hoodlum just out of stir after a three-year stretch. His yen to work on a newspaper finds him getting impossible pictures for a scurillous tab, the NY Graphic-News, so identified.
Among the highlights are the Ruth Snyder take-off from the NY News stunt in lensing that Sing-Sing execution via an ankle-strapped miniature camera. The crazy fireman shooting it out with the cops also harks back to a sensational tabloidized build-up in which a kid New York yegg figured notoriously.
Dominating it all – so much so that several loose ends are conveniently glossed over – is Cagney. He takes full advantage of the fly, crisp lines and situations, and a couple of the situashes are not Sunday school. It’s all sex stuff. A moll and a double-dealing sobbie are the femme pursuers, while Cagney is chasing the honest cop’s daughter.
Patricia Ellis, as the ingenue, is a recent face with beaucoup possibilities. A piquant, youthful personality, she evidences also that she can manage a dramatic scene or two when necessary. Alice White, as the wise-cracking sobbie, is oke if not altogether sympathetic. Ralph Bellamy, as the city ed, sort of ups the average for male pulchritude in newspaper circles, but he’s otherwise authentic throughout.
Story, an original by Danny Ahearn, suggests by the Cagney character name of Danny, something of an autobiographical import. It’s a punchy, meaty yarn, properly peppered with topical highlights that never permit things to sag.