Guest Nunnery, Beth

Who Likes James Cagney?

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ive seen alot of james cagney movies and i like the actor.

 

not a big guy, not a handsome stud, but he was a strong actor, with charisma, tough, who rarely took crap from anyone in films. he had that look, and a wicked smirk that said dude, dont mess with me.

 

cagney showed the world that 'size' dont matter. in the old days, he didnt even take crap from women. he pushed them around, slapped them, shoved things in their faces. im curious how that went over 60-70 years ago.

 

TCM should play more his obscure movies that arent widely played.

hint tcm, hint

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TCM should play more his obscure movies that arent widely played.

hint tcm, hint

 

They play an awful lot of them, if you've been watching for a couple of years. Be sure to download and print the schedules for the month ahead (or take the "Now Playing" guide. I mark up my schedules like crazy, to try to get everything I've missed before. Things I never had a clue he'd made show up, often between 6 am and 4 pm, when the kiddies ought to be in school!

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Lately they have been showing some early obscure movies. What seems to be missing is the 1950's stuff ("Love Me or Leave Me" notwithstanding). I'm sure it's a rights issue but there are a couple of decent westerns, his only directorial effort and some other films that I haven't seen listed on TV in a long, long time. None really have the impact of his 30's films but it's always good to see something new.

 

(You could make an argument that almost anything shown on TCM is obscure since it's really the only place to see it.)

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In the 50s Cagney left Warner Brothers and did freelance for a wide variety of studios and smaller companies. Love Me Or Leave Me not withstanding, the rest of his output (that's not really up to par with his eariler works) is absent from the mix. But I'm at a loss to explain why you think only his later works have been overlooked. Below is the complete James Cagney MIA list. These films have yet to receive a DVD release. Some of them never even made it to VHS. Quel dommage!

 

 

One, Two, Three (1961)

The Gallant Hours (1960)

 

Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)

Never Steal Anything Small (1959)

Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

These Wilder Years (1956)

Tribute to a Bad Man (1956)

The Seven Little Foys (1955)

Run for Cover (1955)

A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)

Starlift (1951)

Come Fill the Cup (1951)

The West Point Story (1950)

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

 

The Time of Your Life (1948)

Blood on the Sun (1945)

Johnny Come Lately (1943)

You, John Jones! (1943)

Captains of the Clouds (1942)

The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)

The Strawberry Blonde (1941)

Torrid Zone (1940)

The Fighting 69th (1940)

 

Boy Meets Girl (1938)

Something to Sing About (1937)

Great Guy (1936)

Ceiling Zero (1936)

Frisco Kid (1935)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)

The Irish in Us (1935)

Devil Dogs of the Air (1935)

The St. Louis Kid (1934)

Here Comes the Navy (1934)

He Was Her Man (1934)

Jimmy the Gent (1934)

Lady Killer (1933)

The Mayor of Hell (1933)

Picture Snatcher (1933)

Hard to Handle (1933)

Winner Take All (1932)

The Crowd Roars (1932)

Taxi! (1932)

Blonde Crazy (1931)

Smart Money (1931)

The Millionaire (1931)

Other Men's Women (1931)

The Doorway to Hell (1930)

Sinners' Holiday (1930)

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NZ:

 

Were you replying to my comment? I only commented about their obscurity as far as their being shown on TV. I make no argument about their availability on DVD.

 

"Run For Cover" has been on Encore's Westerns channel. "The Time Of Your Life" I have on a DVD collection. "One, Two, Three" I think has been on Flix or an Encore channel in the last year as well. Quite a few of the earlier pictures have been shown on TCM in the last year or so.

 

I agree that in the DVD market he is woefully neglected.

 

Chris

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NZ,

 

One, Two, Three and The Seven Little Foys are available on DVD.

 

Something to Sing About, Great Guy, Time of Your Life, and Blood on the Sun are available from several companies because the films are PD.

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I realize that I'm bumping up an old thread here, but anyway...

 

I like James Cagney in films such as:

 

The Public Enemy

 

The Roaring Twenties

 

Picture Snatcher

 

Each Dawn I Die

 

City for Conquest

 

White Heat

 

He was great at playing gangsters, even better than Bogart and Robinson, in my opinion.

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I realize that I'm bumping up an old thread here, but anyway...

 

I like James Cagney in films such as:

 

The Public Enemy

 

The Roaring Twenties

 

Picture Snatcher

 

Each Dawn I Die

 

City for Conquest

 

White Heat

 

He was great at playing gangsters, even better than Bogart and Robinson, in my opinion.

 

While I enjoy the films you listed my favorite Cagney films are Footlight Parade and The Strawberry Blonde.

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While I enjoy the films you listed my favorite Cagney films are Footlight Parade and The Strawberry Blonde.

 

I haven't seen those two films. I'm always happy to see another James Cagney movie. Hopefully I'll cross paths with those two films.

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I haven't seen those two films. I'm always happy to see another James Cagney movie. Hopefully I'll cross paths with those two films.

 

The Strawberry Blonde is a well balanced film and where Cagney plays a more nuanced character;  yea,  he is still a hot head and that is central to the plot but he has a softer side.   In addition the film has Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth (before she was a major star is the strawberry blonde), and Jack Carson.   The 4 of them work really well together.  

 

In Footlight Parade Cagney plays the part of a musical director but Cagney plays it like a gangster.   Since it is all played for laughs it is a very fun performance.    The film features some of Bugsy Berkeley best work and the ending song "Shanghai Lil" where Cagney sings and dances is fantastic.    

 

Also check out Torrid Zone;  this is a camp classic;  Yea,  it plays like an adventure film but there is so much wit and humor in it that even the violent scenes are not done too seriously.    Cagney stars with Irish buddy Pat O'Brien and his Warner co-star Ann Sheridan (in what I believe is her best role).

 

TCM shows all of these Warner films especially Footlight Parade,  often.

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I'm watching both The Public Enemy and The Roaring Twenties tonight. I finished the first film, took a break to post, and I'll be starting on the second film in a few minutes.

 

Honestly, James Cagney was such a talented actor! Good thing he wasn't a gangster in real life.

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I'm watching both The Public Enemy and The Roaring Twenties tonight. I finished the first film, took a break to post, and I'll be starting on the second film in a few minutes.

 

Honestly, James Cagney was such a talented actor! Good thing he wasn't a gangster in real life.

 

That is one heck of a double feature.

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That is one heck of a double feature.

 

I think that, this time around, I enjoyed The Roaring Twenties a bit more than The Public Enemy, although I like both films.

 

In The Roaring Twenties, I like how they gave a little bit of historical background into the post-WWI situation, Prohibition/gangster activity, the stock market crash of 1929, etc. It sure added to the film!

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I think that, this time around, I enjoyed The Roaring Twenties a bit more than The Public Enemy, although I like both films.

 

In The Roaring Twenties, I like how they gave a little bit of historical background into the post-WWI situation, Prohibition/gangster activity, the stock market crash of 1929, etc. It sure added to the film!

 

To me The Roaring Twenties is clearly the better made film;  better acting (Harlow was awful in The Public Enemy),  better script,  sets,  and overall production values.       The only thing that drags down TRT is the silly romantic angle of hood falling for 'good girl'.

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To me The Roaring Twenties is clearly the better made film;  better acting (Harlow was awful in The Public Enemy),  better script,  sets,  and overall production values.       The only thing that drags down TRT is the silly romantic angle of hood falling for 'good girl'.

 

I think that this romantic angle was needed because later, this gangster had to have that confrontation with the lawyer (whom the girl loved). It wasn't a huge deal. At least they didn't make a big sappy thing out of it.

 

I'm also glad that they kept the relationship between the Cagney and Gladys George characters casual and not sappy. At first she seemed a bit interested in him, but that fizzled out soon and they just seemed like good pals. In a modern film, they probably would have had one of those deep discussions about how they could be, or should be, or might be compatible, and all that would come complete with inspirational music. Thankfully this movie is from the 30s, so the film didn't include such nonsense.

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I think that this romantic angle was needed because later, this gangster had to have that confrontation with the lawyer (whom the girl loved). It wasn't a huge deal. At least they didn't make a big sappy thing out of it.

 

I'm also glad that they kept the relationship between the Cagney and Gladys George characters casual and not sappy. At first she seemed a bit interested in him, but that fizzled out soon and they just seemed like good pals. In a modern film, they probably would have had one of those deep discussions about how they could be, or should be, or might be compatible, and all that would come complete with inspirational music. Thankfully this movie is from the 30s, so the film didn't include such nonsense.

 

I agree 'this romantic angle' wasn't too sappy but I still prefer screenplays that are able to avoid using this cliché'.  

 

As for Cagney and George,  well I assume they were sleeping with each other.   I.e. this was his bo-o-t-I-e call since the 'good girl' wouldn't but with the Production Code the screenwriter and director couldn't play up that angle (unlike the pre-code Public Enemy where it is very clear the gangster sleeps with a lot of women).   But I do agree that keeping it casual was the way to handle their so called relationship.

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I agree 'this romantic angle' wasn't too sappy but I still prefer screenplays that are able to avoid using this cliché'.  

 

As for Cagney and George,  well I assume they were sleeping with each other.  

 

I don't know. I think that maybe they tried to have sex once, but somehow I get the feeling that they wouldn't have tried it again with each other. Oh, I'm sure they were sleeping with others, but with each other I think it was more of the "old pal hanging out together" type of thing. 

 

Also, I think that Cagney's character was serious enough about the "good girl" that he might have not bothered with other women until he realized that he could never have her. A one-night stand with Gladys George's character would probably have been an "on the rebound" sort of thing, after the "good girl" finally made her feelings clear. Afterwards, I'm guessing that he didn't care who he slept with.

 

Of course, all of this is only speculation on my part.

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Another comment about The Roaring Twenties (obvious spoilers):

 

Cagney's character really fell hard for "the good girl". I think that, to impress her, he stayed clear of women during the time that he was chasing her. It must have been quite frustrating for him to find out later that he could never have her. He was probably thinking of all the women he could have had those few years....

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Another comment about The Roaring Twenties (obvious spoilers):

 

Cagney's character really fell hard for "the good girl". I think that, to impress her, he stayed clear of women during the time that he was chasing her. It must have been quite frustrating for him to find out later that he could never have her. He was probably thinking of all the women he could have had those few years....

 

I understand this POV but Cagney's character was so aggressive I'm just a little skeptical that he could contain his urges.   Note that High Sierra with Bogart has a similar situation.  To me how all of "this" plays out in High Sierra is done in a lot more realistic, as well as, moving way.

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I understand this POV but Cagney's character was so aggressive I'm just a little skeptical that he could contain his urges.   Note that High Sierra with Bogart has a similar situation.  To me how all of "this" plays out in High Sierra is done in a lot more realistic, as well as, moving way.

 

I barely remember High Sierra. I really need to see it again.

 

As for Cagney in The Roaring Twenties, he had no choice but to contain his urges. What if the woman he loved suddenly showed up at his doorstep because she desperately needed his help, and he was at home with another woman? He'd have NO chance with the woman he loved if this happened. If he went to another woman's home for sex, he would have risked missing out if the woman he loved came to his home with some emergency or whatever. I think that, day after day, he waited for her. Later, he was probably kicking himself because, all the time that he was waiting, she was with the lawyer.

 

On the other hand, like you say, maybe he couldn't contain his urges and the "good girl" knew this, which is why she would never have gotten serious with him.

 

Personally, I think that in The Roaring Twenties, Cagney did force himself to devote himself to the woman he loved. In The Public Enemy, he wasn't serious about any lady.

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I plan on watching the 1933 film Picture Snatcher tonight, first time in probably several years. James Cagney has so much energy in that one! As a reformed gangster, his character sure comes up with some clever ways of getting stories for the newspaper he works for. Fun film.

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