Jimmy the Gent is good fun. James Cagney pops Allen Jenkins, his dumb cluck stooge, every time he gets sore. It’s expert, thorough-going, typically Cagney manhandling. And good for plenty of laughs.
Story seems to be the first screen presentation of a plausible racket, namely finding heirs for the fortunes lying around unclaimed in banks. Cagney is crude and primitive in his operations. The girl he is sweet on (Bette Davis) works for a gentlemanly and suave practitioneer of the same racket. Part of the fun is Cagney’s trying to make a gent out of himself in emulation of the smoothie (Alan Dinehart).
Plot [from the story The Heir Chaser by Laird Doyle and Ray Nazzaro] is extremely ingenious and special plaudits belong with the scenario department. Davis’ unusual coiffure and smart deportment helps a lot. Several other slick performances by Dinehart, Arthur Hohl, Jenkins and Alice White rate special bows.
Short running time, just over an hour, keeps Jimmy the Gent moving at breakneck speed throughout.