Saturday, November 12, 2011


Cash or his heart, one or the other!
Ha Ha, I’ll bring you both!

It was a year of great classics…Chaplin’s ‘City Light’, Fritz Lang’s ‘M’ and two horror masterpieces ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula’. Adding to these entries is William Wellman’s ‘The Public Enemy’ portraying the rise and fall of notorious 1920’s Chicago gangster Tom Powers played by James Cagney in his career launching role. Tom and his fellow Matt Doyle grows and rise from small time working class burglar kids to big mobsters with the notorious company raising from Putty Nose to Paddy Ryan and Nails Nathan stealing things to selling blackmarket booze in prohibition era.  

The film has lot of clichés and melodramatic trademark rift between two brothers on opposite sides of law with a dear mother in between but there’s humanizing factor too and there’re number of memorable moments all comes from Cagney. From hitting grapefruit to his girlfriend on dining table, machine gun attack outside Paddy’s home, being hit and stumbling Tom in rain uttering ‘I ain’t so tough’ and collapsing in the gutter and the final frames where he returns to his home for all awaited family. Cagney brought to screen the pure energy of attitudinal tough guy with his dominating presence in each and every scene and that’s kind of reference for all screen’s upcoming tough boy hoodlums.

And as for those who’ve seen Michael Mann’s ‘The Public Enemy’ starring Johnny Depp as Dillinger, let me tell you there’s neither connection nor comparison between two films; however I like Mann’s film partially, this is an absolute must watch for its classic appeal and the man named James Cagney.


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