Review: ‘Johnny Eager’

Johnny Eager is an underworld meller with a few new twists to the usual trappings, but by and large it's the familiar tale [by James Edward Grant] of slick gangster vs innocent rich girl.

Johnny Eager is an underworld meller with a few new twists to the usual trappings, but by and large it’s the familiar tale [by James Edward Grant] of slick gangster vs innocent rich girl.

Robert Taylor, with his hair slightly ruffled to make him a rough-tough guy, drives a taxi for the benefit of the parole board while directing his underworld activities of slot machines, protection and expected opening of a dog track. Debutante Lana Turner meets him at the parole office, and falls in love with the intriguing ex-convict. After discovering his gangster activities, she holds the secret, but is the victim of a phoney murder staged by Taylor so the latter can control the girl’s stepfather, the crusading prosecutor, and so open the dog track against injunction.

Taylor effectively handles the pretty-boy (not a reflection on him, personally) characterization effectively, with Turner clicking in the acting line and a most easy subject for the men to look at. Van Heflin, as the perpetually-soused companion of Taylor, is outstanding.

Johnny Eager

Production

M-G-M. Director Mervyn LeRoy; Producer John W. Considine Jr; Screenplay John Lee Mahin, James Edward Grant; Camera Harold Rosson; Editor Albert Akst; Music Bronislau Kaper; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Stan Rogers

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Robert Taylor Lana Turner Edward Arnold Van Heflin Robert Sterling Patricia Dane
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