Bogie and Cagney are WWI vets who end up as bootleggers and gangsters, and of course come to a bad end.
This is part of the Warner’s Gangsters collection, and we’ve been on a Bogie kick since our New Year’s Day Videofest (theme: Humphrey Bogart) and this one was next in line. And it was great!
Bogie is a hardened gangster, as is obvious even in the WWI trenches as he kills a young soldier minutes before the armistice, and brandishes a machine gun singing its praises. Cagney is just a regular guy, wanting to go back home and get a job…but there are no jobs and he ends up bootlegging with Bogie (doesn’t that sound like a swell title for a musical?). The girl he falls in love with marries someone else, and when their business gets dangerous, Bogie sells him out and he goes to prison…and things just get worse for Cagney from there.
Of course the Hays Code decrees that all the bad guys die or go to prison in the end, but it’s a lot of fun watching them get there. Bogie and Cagney are at the top of their respective forms, the supporting players are good, the plot moves fast with a minimum of moralizing and there are even a few musical numbers, although Priscilla Lane is not very good as a singer or dancer.
This one is a winner, rent or buy it and enjoy.
Added bonus: there are a couple of shorts included on the DVD, one of which is a mocking look at the trouble one man has in trying to get a card at the local public library, which made the librarians chez Otter snicker and hoot.