The Roaring Twenties (1939)

A surprisingly candid tale about how the bootlegging business started for capable guys with little else to do.

Cagney and Bogart are almost as perfectly teamed up as Bogart and Edward G Robinson, though the psychopath angle for George Hally (Bogart) could have done with more development. No mention here, either, of the Italian Mafia, or the Jewish gangsters prominent in that period.

There’s some surprising truth here that slipped past Hays and Breen in the censorship office.

Some day I will pay more attention to this film.


Warner Brothers, 104 minutes, black and white.

Directed by Raoul Walsh. Written by Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, Robert Rossen, from a story by Mark Hellinger. Cinematography by Ernest Haller. Produced by Hall B Wallis, Samuel Bischoff. Music by (uncredited) Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld.

Featuring James Cagney as Eddie Bartlett, Priscilla Lane as Jean Sherman, Humphrey Bogart as George Hally, Gladys George as Panama Smith, Jeffrey Lynn as Lloyd Hart, Frank McHugh as Danny Green, George Meeker as Harold Masters, Paul Kelly as Nick Brown, Elisabeth Risdon as Mrs Sherman, Ed Keane as Henderson.

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