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TomJH

Bogart Vs. Cagney Vs. Robinson

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Perhaps Bogart  would  have consented to being  part of one of the future "Rat Pack" films since he and wife Lauren were charter members.  OCEAN'S 11 starring Humphrey Bogart , costarring  Frank, Dean, etc.?

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In just a few hours TCM is airing THE RETURN OF DR.  X,  a 1939 Warners film that certainly marks one of the lowest  points of Humphrey Bogart's film career. No reflection on Bogie, he was under contract and got this assignment. One can only imagine how he felt about  doing this and being the lead no less. The film's director, Vincent Sherman, was doing his first film under his seven year Warners contract  and this was no easy or fun project for him.  Better days would come for Bogart and Sherman, and anyone else involved in this ridiculous film.

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I really enjoyed the noir line up for Friday night, July 17th.  TOO LATE FOR TEARS, STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS,  99 RIVER STREET (first time viewing for me) were all great films.  And then they aired the Bogart film CONFLICT, which I really feel is an underappreciated film and Eddie Muller feels the same.  Bogart may have been having tough  personal issues when making this film (Muller suggests that Bogie  hated  making this film and THE TWO MRS CARROLLS)  but at least CONFLICT turned out to be a good film. Bogart channeled his own personal frustrations into the character for CONFLICT which worked for the best.  TCM has aired CONFLICT several times recently, for those who never have seen it I think it's worth viewing. Not one of Bogart's  top films but still a good one.

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I really enjoyed the noir line up for Friday night, July 17th.  TOO LATE FOR TEARS, STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS,  99 RIVER STREET (first time viewing for me) were all great films.  And then they aired the Bogart film CONFLICT, which I really feel is an underappreciated film and Eddie Muller feels the same.  Bogart may have been having tough  personal issues when making this film (Muller suggests that Bogie  hated  making this film and THE TWO MRS CARROLLS)  but at least CONFLICT turned out to be a good film. Bogart channeled his own personal frustrations into the character for CONFLICT which worked for the best.  TCM has aired CONFLICT several times recently, for those who never have seen it I think it's worth viewing. Not one of Bogart's  top films but still a good one.

I agree that Conflict is a pretty good cat-and-mouse suspense effort, though I don't know if fans of the Bogart "Casablanca cool" persona will like it as much.

 

I have to say that I think that The Two Mrs. Carrolls, another wife murderer role for Bogie which you mentioned, mrroberts, has, perhaps, the actor's most embarrassing performance of his prime years as a star. He is really doing the wide eyed paranoid routine as the film reaches its climax and it is far from the actor at his most subtle. Of course, this hardly compares to the embarrassment of his casting as a decided weirdo part-vampire in a Return of Dr. X done during his earlier "B" actor quickie days.

 

return-of-dr-x1_zpsrfobm5tw.jpg

 

No wonder Dr X is regarded as a stinker by many. With that hairstyle they gave poor Bogie he even looks a bit like a skunk.

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Sometimes 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2. It ends up 0.  Hard to figure a film like THE TWO MRS CARROLLS , with lead casting like this how can it possibly  miss. I don't believe there were any issues of conflict between Bogie and Missy during filming.  If anything I think she was always good to work with and Bogart would have appreciated her professionalism.   Maybe our expectations are too high from this pairing and the film is just a run of the mill deal. Its unfortunate that they didn't get to work on another project later on,  that may have been a gem.  

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Sometimes 1 + 1 doesn't equal 2. It ends up 0.  Hard to figure a film like THE TWO MRS CARROLLS , with lead casting like this how can it possibly  miss. I don't believe there were any issues of conflict between Bogie and Missy during filming.  If anything I think she was always good to work with and Bogart would have appreciated her professionalism.   Maybe our expectations are too high from this pairing and the film is just a run of the mill deal. Its unfortunate that they didn't get to work on another project later on,  that may have been a gem.  

 

Yea,  Bogie does over do it in The Two Mrs. Carrolls but the film does have that great lunch scene.   Alexis Smith is a role B in that scene and the dialog is a hoot,  with Bogie eyes saying 'does this fuss revolve around me???'.      If the film had more of this type of tension it would have been great.   

 

Note a similar scene is in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers when Martha goes to Sam's hotel room and finds Tony there.  This time it is Stanwyck being the mean one.   After an exchange of cracks between the two gals,  Sam tells Martha to apologies to Tony.   The look on Stanwyck face is almost a giggle.   I assume she was acting! 

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I just watched the DVD of ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES for the first time in a number of years. It's still a terrific film, one of the most satisfactory of the sentimental they-drove-me-to-crime school of films churned out by Hollywood during the FDR years.

 

Jimmy Cagney is truly mesmerizing as gangster Rocky Sullivan, the good bad boy who returns to his old neighbourhood for the first time after years in stir. Cagney's remarkable rapport with the Dead End Kids (even though there was friction on the set between them) energizes all  their scenes together, in particular the basketball game.

 

But the film has an outstanding supporting cast, as well, with Pat O'Brien as Cagney's priest buddy, Humphrey Bogart as a slick crooked lawyer, George Bancroft as Bogart's gangster partner who runs a nightclub, and Ann Sheridan, in her breakthrough role, as Cagney's girlfriend.

 

I love the chemistry between Sheridan and Cagney.

 

In one scene, after Cagney has first returned to his old neighbourhood, he rents a room in a rundown building from Sheridan.

 

After a quick glance at the room, Cagney says, "I've seen worse."

 

"I guess you have," Sheridan immediately throws back at him with a look of disdain on her face.

 

Of course, the highlight of the film is Rocky's famous last mile walk to the electric chair, as dramatically presented by director Mike Curtiz and photograph Sol Polito. It remains as emotionally riveting a climax to a film as one could hope to see.

 

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...But the film has an outstanding supporting cast, as well, with Pat O'Brien as Cagney's priest buddy...,

 

...Of course, the highlight of the film is Rocky's famous last mile walk to the electric chair, as dramatically presented by director Mike Curtiz and photograph Sol Polito. It remains as emotionally riveting a climax to a film as one could hope to see.

 

Yes, I've always thought the reaction shot of O'Brien's face in this final scene makes it especially work, Tom.

 

And in contrast, we never of course actually see Cagney's face while he's being strapped into Ol' Sparky but just in cast shadows and with only Cagney's hands being shown grasping at that heating radiator, and I've always wondered why Curtiz choose to shoot that scene in that matter.

 

(...not sayin' here that it's not perhaps this very choice of his that makes that such a memorable scene, you understand...just wonderin' here, that's all)

Edited by Dargo

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Yes, I've always thought the reaction shot of O'Brien's face in this final scene makes it especially work, Tom.

 

And in contrast, we never of course actually see Cagney's face while he's being strapped into Ol' Sharky but just in cast shadows and with only Cagney's hands being shown grasping at that heating radiator, and I've always wondered why Curtiz choose to shoot that scene in that matter.

 

(...not sayin' here that it's not perhaps this very choice of his that makes that such a memorable scene, you understand...just wonderin' here, that's all)

You know, Dargo, I think those shots of Cagney's hands really are Cagney's hands, too, because you can see freckles on them.

 

Curtiz, as you know, loved shadows and this particularly memorable sequence showed off his flair for them. Yes, it's interesting (and perhaps unexpected) that you hear Cagney's anguished cries and pleas in that final screen moment of life for Rocky but don't actually see him (outside of his hands, that is).

 

Perhaps it's because (just speculation here, of course), while Warners were willing to let their studio's foremost tough guy play a man playing a coward, they didn't want the public to actually see it.

 

Just seconds before Cagney starts to plead for mercy we have our last shot of him, and it's a memorable closeup of his face which is set like a rock in defiance.

 

images1_zpsmza318ay.jpg

 

That final shot of Cagney's face, which stays with the viewer, was, I think, director Curtiz's way of telling us that, no matter what cries of cowardice we hear from him immediately afterward, they are all an act. Rocky is performing an act of self sacrifice to his image as a tough guy for the sake of his priest pal and for all those street kids who would have otherwise idolized him in death.

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Its a good thing that Errol Flynn wasn't the star of this film. Director Michael Curtiz  might have wanted to use REAL electricity for the death scene. ;)  P.S. Dargo old buddy I believe that you meant to say "Ol' Sparky" , not "sharky".

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Its a good thing that Errol Flynn wasn't the star of this film. Director Michael Curtiz  might have wanted to use REAL electricity for the death scene. ;)  P.S. Dargo old buddy I believe that you meant to say "Ol' Sparky" , not "sharky".

 

Yep, I sure did, Mr.R!

 

(...thanks...I'll go change that down there right now)

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Yeah, that's great. You correct your posting and now it looks like I'm imaging this stuff. They'll put me in a strait jacket and room me with that loony Cody Jarrett guy.  That guy scares me. He reminds me of a Captain I used to sail with.

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Dargo old buddy I believe that you meant to say "Ol' Sparky" , not "sharky".

Dargo might have meant "Ol' Sharkey" if he had some kind of weird flashback to Barry Fitzgerald in The Sea Wolf as he typed his posting.

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Dargo might have meant "Ol' Sharkey" if he had some kind of weird flashback to Barry Fitzgerald in The Sea Wolf as he typed his posting.

 

Nope, just a typo down there, that's all, Tom. ;)

 

However, IF I had been raised Catholic and/or had attended Parochial schools somewhere along the way and instead of solely attending classes conducted by the public instituted Los Angeles Unified School District all throughout my formative years, I suppose there might be the OUTSIDE chance that I COULD have one of those weird flashbacks about Barry Fitzgerald you're talkin' about here!

 

(...but it certainly wouldn't be of the guy as a "sailor", now would it?!) ;)

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They'll put me in a strait jacket and room me with that loony Cody Jarrett guy.  That guy scares me.

I realize that this has probably be said a few million times before (probably including within this thread) but here goes number one million and one:

 

Cagney's two gangster portrayals in Angels with Dirty Faces and White Heat are so contrasting to one another.

 

Rocky Sullivan, played by the actor when he was very much in his physical prime, may be the most lovable of all screen gangsters, He's the irrepressible man child, the "bad boy" that many women won't be able to resist. Cagney brings his patented energy to the part, of course, but also wonderful little subtle nuances to the characterization, as well. The nervous hitch of the shoulders, the "Whadda hear, whadda say" greeting to a friend. And charm, what charm that man had no matter how tough a bird he was playing. And at the film's ending, he turns self sacrificing, giving away what he himself calls the only thing that he has left, his street tough guy reputation, all for a noble cause.

 

Rocky is the gangster that the viewer wants to somehow save, as much as do his priest pal and girlfriend in the film.

 

Cody Jarrett, on the other hand, filmed a decade later, with a middle aged, now paunchy Cagney in the role, was the most cold blooded characterization of the actor's career. Where once there was charm, there's now paranoia and a nasty sneer. Where once there was a conscience, there's now a single minded determination to achieve his own selfish, egomanical ends, no matter what the cost to others around him.

 

In contrast to Rocky, a victim of the slums of his childhood, the post war Cody is a victim of the labyrinth of the mind. Psychopaths had been seen in the movies before but, perhaps, never so full force in the face for audiences as when Cagney did it in 1949.

 

Cody Jarrett was as perfect a showcase for a middle aged Cagney as had been Rocky Sullivan when he was a younger man. But the sadism and rage of Jarrett makes him an inexplicable, if fascinating, force of (a twisted) nature to be avoided. We know that there really are, God help us, people like Jarrett walking our streets. Cagney's performance remains a chilling reminder of that reality.

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September's schedule for GetTV includes Knock On Any Door (1949), Tokyo Joe (1949), In A Lonely Place (1950) and Beat The Devil (1953) with Humphrey Bogart. And The Stranger (1946) with Edward G. Robinson.

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ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES and WHITE HEAT are polar opposites in the gangster film world as are the  films two lead characters both played so excellently by James Cagney. I guess the best way for me to sum up those two films is that when Cagney meets his end in "Angels"  you feel great sorrow, regret. In spite of the fact that Cagney is a criminal who commits a crime that results in his death sentence he goes out a genuine hero (at least from the audience prospective).  In "White Heat" when Cagney meets his doom I feel a great sense of relief , almost cheering his death. "Cody" is such an evil guy with no redeeming values, there's no ounce of sympathy for this guy. I am sure that is just the way that Cagney and director Raoul Walsh wanted it.  This brings me to the question of how do we feel about Cagney's other great gangster film, THE PUBLIC ENEMY. and how it contrasts with the later  two films.   This film that had such a dramatic impact on setting  a tone for future gangster films and made its lead, James Cagney, an over night star. On the surface THE PUBLIC ENEMY is supposed to be Warner Brothers' statement about the problems of society that breed these criminals but I have problems seeing that in this film.  "Tom Powers" is a bad kid from his early youth (contrasted by his good guy brother) and he  just grows into a bad adult who hangs with the wrong crowd and wants to be one of the top hoods. Its hard to find anything good about this Tom Powers  character, if anything we should sympathize with his buddy Matt, who just follows Tom wherever he goes and does what Tom does.  If Matt (ironically Cagney was originally going to play the supporting character) had just picked another kid to pal with, his whole life could have been very different and for the better.  Both boys meet tragic ends, you can feel bad for Matt, but Tom does get what he deserves.

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September's schedule for GetTV includes Knock On Any Door (1949), Tokyo Joe (1949), In A Lonely Place (1950) and Beat The Devil (1953) with Humphrey Bogart. And The Stranger (1946) with Edward G. Robinson.

I've been wanting to see In a Lonely Place forever and I think I missed it on TCM when it was last on.  A theater in Portland was showing it a few months ago and I wasn't able to make it.  I hope that TCM airs it soon, or maybe I can procure a copy somehow.

 

Beat the Devil is a strange film.  I'm not sure if it's one of those movies where you need to watch it multiple times to catch everything that's going on, or whether it's just weird.

 

I love The Stranger.  That's a great movie with two of my favorites: Edward G Robinson and Orson Welles.

 

Boo! I don't think Dish carries Get TV.  I've got a billion religious and shopping channels, but I can't get Get TV or Me TV, two channels I'd love to have.

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Boo! I don't think Dish carries Get TV.  I've got a billion religious and shopping channels, but I can't get Get TV or Me TV, two channels I'd love to have.

 

How close are you to Portland? According to their websites, both MeTV and GetTV are subchannels for KATU out of that city so maybe you can catch them over the air. That is what I do in my area for the latter since GetTV is not part of my local cable system but it is a subchannel for one of my local stations.

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 On the surface THE PUBLIC ENEMY is supposed to be Warner Brothers' statement about the problems of society that breed these criminals but I have problems seeing that in this film.  "Tom Powers" is a bad kid from his early youth (contrasted by his good guy brother) and he  just grows into a bad adult who hangs with the wrong crowd and wants to be one of the top hoods. Its hard to find anything good about this Tom Powers  character, if anything we should sympathize with his buddy Matt, who just follows Tom wherever he goes and does what Tom does.  If Matt (ironically Cagney was originally going to play the supporting character) had just picked another kid to pal with, his whole life could have been very different and for the better.  Both boys meet tragic ends, you can feel bad for Matt, but Tom does get what he deserves.

Tom Powers was definitely a hard case, though there are still glimpses of Cagney's charm even in this guy. Warners made a point of softening his characterizations immediately afterward to make him more lovable to audiences. For one thing he stopped playing gangsters (technically he's one at the beginning of Lady Killer) and made him a larcenous kind of con man in many films, sometimes allowing him, particularly during the fast paced programmers he made during the pre-code period, to show off his comedy technique with some funny, quirky performances in which he played guys often skirting the law.

 

By the end of the '30s the studio finally returned Cagney to the gangster genre with two big budget, sentimental films, with Cagney playing highly sympathetic society-drove-me-to-crime hoods, Rocky Sullivan in Angels with Dirty Faces and Eddie Barlett in The Roaring Twenties. These characters were a far cry, that polar opposite to which you referred, mrroberts, to The Public Enemy. In that respect, you could easily argue that Cagney's first star making gangster film, raw and primitive in technique as it is compared to the other two films, is a more realistic presentation of a street tough guy.

 

It's interesting, I feel, that, in contrast to Edward G. Robinson's egomanical Little Caesar released the year before Public Enemy, Cagney's Tom Powers is never anything other than a small time hood, never rising through the ranks to gangster boss. But he's got a mean, nasty streak (Cagney, a sentimental man, probably despised this character) that the studio made sure to completely eradicate in his followup roles.

 

It's interesting that a nasty punk like Powers was good enough to make Cagney a star but the studio must have worried that his stardom wouldn't last if he continued with roles that extreme in nature, so they did softer variations on it. But while Tom Powers was cold blooded and mean, Cody Jarrett would be down right psychopathic, and Cagney, now an established star looking for a big comeback role after a career slump, would ratchet up his cold bloodedness to still new extremes. You could say that he returned to his mean Tom Power roots in a super charged manner.

 

One area in which we do have a disagreement, though, mrroberts, is in regard to Jarrett's death. Nut case that he is (and with society clearly better off for his demise), I still have a kind of grudging admiration for Cody's guts and style at the end. Surrounded by the cops and a million guns, he goes out laughing and, essentially, spitting in the eye of his enemies. Yes, I know it's the laughter of a lunatic, but he still goes out his way.

 

He's the one that fires those shots into the gas tank on which he stands causing it to explode, trying to take as many of the cops that he despises with him as he can. And in those final seconds just before the explosion Jarrett looks to the heavens, with his legendary, "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" exclamation, acting as if it was a moment of triumph for him.

 

Cody Jarrett goes out BIG, with the whole world seeming to be watching him. Even with what looks like an atomic mushroom cloud over the scene of destruction. That's the way this psychopathic egomaniac would have wanted it. In that respect, it really was a triumph for him.

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Tom Powers was definitely a hard case, though there are still glimpses of Cagney's charm even in this guy. Warners made a point of softening his characterizations immediately afterward to make him more lovable to audiences. For one thing he stopped playing gangsters (technically he's one at the beginning of Lady Killer) and made him a larcenous kind of con man in many films, sometimes allowing him, particularly during the fast paced programmers he made during the pre-code period, to show off his comedy technique with some funny, quirky performances in which he played guys often skirting the law.

 

By the end of the '30s the studio finally returned Cagney to the gangster genre with two big budget, sentimental films, with Cagney playing highly sympathetic society-drove-me-to-crime hoods, Rocky Sullivan in Angels with Dirty Faces and Eddie Barlett in The Roaring Twenties. These characters were a far cry, that polar opposite to which you referred, mrroberts, to The Public Enemy. In that respect, you could easily argue that Cagney's first star making gangster film, raw and primitive in technique as it is compared to the other two films, is a more realistic presentation of a street tough guy.

 

It's interesting, I feel, that, in contrast to Edward G. Robinson's egomanical Little Caesar released the year before Public Enemy, Cagney's Tom Powers is never anything other than a small time hood, never rising through the ranks to gangster boss. But he's got a mean, nasty streak (Cagney, a sentimental man probably despised this character) that the studio made sure to completely eradicate in his followup roles.

 

It's interesting that a nasty punk like Powers was good enough to make Cagney a star but the studio must have worried that his stardom would last if he continued with roles that extreme in nature, so they did softer variations on it. But while Tom Powers was cold blooded and mean, Cody Jarrett would be down right psychopathic, and Cagney, now an established star looking for a big comeback role after a career slump, would ratchet up his cold bloodedness to still new extremes. You could say that he returned to his mean Tom Power roots in a super charged manner.

 

One area in which we do have a disagreement, though, mrroberts, is in regard to Jarrett's death. Nut case that he is (and with society clearly better off for his demise), I still have a kind of grudging admiration for Cody's guts and style at the end. Surrounded by the cops and a million guns, he goes out laughing and, essentially, spitting in the eye of his enemies. Yes, I know it's the laughter of a lunatic, but he still goes out his way.

 

He's the one that fires those shots into the gas tank on which he stands causing it to explode, trying to take as many of the cops that he despises with him as he can. And in those final seconds just before the explosion Jarrett looks to the heavens, with his legendary, "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" exclamation, acting as if it was a moment of triumph for him.

 

Cody Jarrett goes out BIG, with the whole world seeming to be watching him. Even with what looks like an atomic mushroom cloud over the scene of destruction. That's the way this psychopathic egomaniac would have wanted it. In that respect, it really was a triumph for him.

Tom Powers was certainly more charming than Cody Jarrett.

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How close are you to Portland? According to their websites, both MeTV and GetTV are subchannels for KATU out of that city so maybe you can catch them over the air. That is what I do in my area for the latter since GetTV is not part of my local cable system but it is a subchannel for one of my local stations.

I'm in the Portland Metro Area, about 20 miles from downtown Portland. I have KATU (that's ABC), on Dish, but I don't know how to access the sub channels. They're not in my channel guide. When I had cable, I had ME-TV and Antenna-TV, but now I have satellite and those channels don't seem to be available. I guess I just need to figure out how to access the substations.

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I'm in the Portland Metro Area, about 20 miles from downtown Portland. I have KATU (that's ABC), on Dish, but I don't know how to access the sub channels. They're not in my channel guide. When I had cable, I had ME-TV and Antenna-TV, but now I have satellite and those channels don't seem to be available. I guess I just need to figure out how to access the substations.

 

I'm not a satellite expert, but I suspect that Dish may not carry any local subchannels. If your television's coax input is not being used, you may be able to go "old school" and hook up an internal antenna to your television to see what, if anything, you can pick up in your location.

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I'm not a satellite expert, but I suspect that Dish may not carry any local subchannels. If your television's coax input is not being used, you may be able to go "old school" and hook up an internal antenna to your television to see what, if anything, you can pick up in your location.

I don't know much about these things.  The "coax" you're referring to I assume is the old school coaxial cable that TVs used to use prior to HDMI.  I'll have to research internal antennas.  I read something about buying an OTA attachment or something from the Dish website, but I'm not sure what to do afterwards and I don't want to buy it if it won't work. 

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