Old School Movie Month with James Cagney in The Public Enemy

James Cagney was the Joe Pesci of the Black & White Gangster Movie era. Many people assume he was type cast as a Gangster actor except that he also danced and sand in movies such as Yankee Doodle Dandy. Cagney oozed talent, testosterone and tough guy attitude.

The Public Enemy released in 1931 is about a Chicago hoodlum, Tom Powers, played by Cagney, who rises to the top while his brother urges him to pursue a different lifestyle. An accidental killing leads to a climactic off-camera shootout with a rival gang that has Cagney stumbling to the gutter.

Some very cutting edge scenes of the day are in this movie that caused controversy.

In the scene below Cagney shows what happens when a women nags her gangster boyfriend.

Another great scene shows how Cagney manipulates a pawn shop owner resulting in a stick up. It is a brilliant scene that leads to the off-screen shoot out. In those days it took talented acting to portray implied off-screen actions. You never see the gun battle, you can only imagine. But you see the results.


3 Responses to “Old School Movie Month with James Cagney in The Public Enemy”

  1. Richard Says:

    So I’m guessing that the new “Public Enemies” movie is a remake?

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