Friday, January 7, 2011

The Public Enemy

If there's one genre that's wildly popular, it's the crime genre. Men love it, women are turned off by it (not me).

Tom Powers (James Cagney) earns a living from bootlegging during Prohibition. But he finds out that bootlegging is a competitive and violent industry.

The Public Enemy is known for two things: kickstarting the gangster movie and Cagney giving Mae Clarke a grapefruit facial (the most ingenious ad-lib in my book). Cagney is just explosive as Powers (though I heard from another source he's better in White Heat). The Public Enemy, in my opinion, is the best introduction to Cagney and the gangster movie in general.

My Rating: *****

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree, this is the perfect entry point for getting into James Cagney and old gangster movies. Cagney was a great, able to transition from gangster films to musicals to comedies flawlessly. One of my favorites is the under appreciated Billy Wilder comedy, One Two Three.


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