×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Public Enemy

There's no lace on this picture. It's raw and brutal. It's low-brow material given such workmanship as to make it high-brow. To square everything there's a foreword and postscript moralizing on the gangster as a menace to the public welfare.

With:
James Cagney Edward Woods Donald Cook Joan Blondell Jean Harlow Beryl Mercer

There’s no lace on this picture. It’s raw and brutal. It’s low-brow material given such workmanship as to make it high-brow. To square everything there’s a foreword and postscript moralizing on the gangster as a menace to the public welfare.

Pushing a grapefruit into the face of the moll (Mae Clarke) with whom he’s fed up, socking another on the chin for inducing him to her for the night while he’s drunk, and spitting a mouthful of beer into the face of a speakeasy proprietor for using a rival’s product are a few samples of James Cagney’s deportment as Tom, a tough in modern gangster’s dress.

The story [by Kubec Glasmon and John Bright] traces him and Matt (Edward Woods) from street gamins in 1909 as a couple of rowdy neighbourhood boys. Titles then designate lapses in time of 1915, 1917 and finally 1920. During this interim they’ve killed a cop on their first big job, and both kids are set to go the hard way.

The comedy in the picture, as well as the rough stuff, is in the dialog and by-play with the dames who include, besides Clarke, Joan Blondell and Jean Harlow. Harlow better hurry and do something about her voice. She doesn’t get the best of it alongside Clarke and Blondell, who can troupe.

1930/31: Nomination: Best Original Story

The Public Enemy

Production: Warner. Director William A. Wellman; Screenplay Harvey Thew; Camera Dev Jennings; Editor Edward M. McDermott; Music David Mendoza (dir.); Art Director Max Parker

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1931. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: James Cagney Edward Woods Donald Cook Joan Blondell Jean Harlow Beryl Mercer

More Film

  • Sygeplejeskolen sc 205

    Claudia Boderke, Lars Mering Talk ‘The New Nurses,’ Gender, Class

    The inevitable comparison for SF Studios’ “The New Nurses,” at least from a Danish broadcast perspective, is “Something’s Rockin,’” another 2018 TV 2 Charlie show which was retro but forward-looking. “Something’s Rockin’” described the birth of an independent radio with culture in Denmark. Produced by SF Studios’ Senia Dremstrup (“Norskov”),  “The New Nurses” talks cleverly [...]

  • Robert Redford

    Robert Redford to Receive Honorary Cesar Award

    Legendary American actor and director Robert Redford is set to receive an honorary Cesar award, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, at the 44th annual César ceremony, which will take place on Feb. 22 in Paris. “An iconic actor, an exceptional director, a passionate producer, founder and president of Sundance, the most revered festival of independent [...]

  • Goteborg: Co-writer Hakan Lindhe on Viaplay’s

    Co-Writer Hakan Lindhe on Politics, Image in Viaplay’s ‘The Inner Circle’

    David Ehrling, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise, who is tipped to be its next Prime Minister, spends a lot of the time in Sweden’s “The Inner Circle” not preparing his speeches, or in impassioned discussion of key political issues, but staring into the mirror, rain checking on his strong-jawed image. He spends much of his enterprise, [...]

  • 'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit On His

    'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit on his Socially-Minded Smash

    PARIS —  Far from a dumping ground, the months of January and February have become synonymous in France with the kinds of highly polished crowd-pleasing comedies that dominate the annual box-office. This year is no exception, only nestled among the likely blockbusters “Serial Bad Weddings 2” and “City Hunter” is Louis-Julien Petit’s socially minded dramedy [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures confirmed that it has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year in China. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according to Chinese [...]

  • Nicolas Philibert Talks Nursing Documentary 'Each

    Nicolas Philibert: 'A Director Driven To Make A Statement Cannot Make Cinema'

    PARIS  — For over two decades, French documentarian Nicolas Philibert has examined his country’s various public institutions with a watchmaker’s calm and anthropologist’s curiosity. In films like “To Be and To Have,” “La Maison de la Radio” and “Louvre City,” he’s taken his camera into schoolhouses, broadcast hubs and the world’s most famous museum. His [...]

  • 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Film Review: 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Cinematographer-turned-director Bruce Thierry Cheung offers an artful and affecting mix of harshly defined specifics and impressionistic storytelling in “Don’t Come Back from the Moon,” a cumulatively poignant drama about absent fathers and abandoned families in an economically devastated desert community. Structured more like a tone poem than a conventional narrative, it’s an elliptical memory play [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content