The Public Enemy

1931

Crime / Drama

2
IMDb Rating 7.7

Synopsis


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1.64G
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English
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83 min
P/S 104 / 108
1.05G
Normal
English
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83 min
P/S 29 / 59

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 8

&quot;Public Enemy&quot; brought two things to the screen: the little tough guy, fast-talking, unscrupulous gangster characterization by James Cagney which was to follow him throughout his entire screen career, and the grapefruit scene? <br/><br/>Though &quot;Public Enemy&quot; created the Cagney image, he had already appeared in two other gangsters films for Warners, as a murderer prepared to let someone else pay for his crime in &quot;Sinner&#39;s Holiday,&quot; and as a double-crossing hoodlum in &quot;Doorway to Hell.&quot;<br/><br/>&quot;Public Enemy,&quot; however, was a bigger-budget production, directed by William Wellman, and it contained all the elements of success? It is the story of two brothers who become Chicago booze barons in the Twenties... One was Cagney, the other Edward Woods? <br/><br/>It is sometimes claimed that the story of &quot;Public Enemy&quot; is based on that of &quot;Little Hymie&quot; Weiss, leader of the North Side Chicago gang after the murder of Dion O&#39;Banion by the Capones in 1924? What is more likely is that the Cagney characterization is based on &quot;Little Hymie&quot;; the plot itself is pure fiction? <br/><br/>When Cagney, in his striped pajama, sat opposite Mae Clarke at breakfast and decided he had had enough of this boring broad, he wasted no time? He picked up half a grapefruit and planted it full into Clarke&#39;s face? It was a piece of screen action which has lasted down the years as the ultimate in violence from the gangster to his moll? <br/><br/>Of course, it isn&#39;t ? it just seems that way? Since then gir1s have been slapped, kicked, beaten up, run over, shot, stabbed and raped, all in the tradition of mobster violence? <br/><br/>But at the time this scene was daring, and the more daring because it was totally unexpected? We remember Mae Clarke in &quot;Public Enemy,&quot; yet forget that Jean Harlow was in it, too? There may have been good reason? The New York Times, reviewing the film in 1934, commented: &quot;The acting throughout is interesting, with the exception of Jean Harlow, who essays the role of a gangster&#39;s mistress.&quot; <br/><br/>Cagney made violence and a life of crime magically seductive, and &quot;Public Enemy&quot; made him Warners&#39; number 2 gangster, second only to Edward G. Robinson?

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Reviewed by pzanardo 8

&quot;The Public Enemy&quot; is one of the starting points of the great season of gangster movies, a very interesting work. It is not the story of the rise and fall of some big boss of crime. Tom Powers (James Cagney) and Matt Doyle (Edward Woods) are just small time crooks, and so they remain throughout the movie. Only, they make the big money that the circumstances of prohibition offer to any criminal. Tom is just a semi-illiterate, naturally violent thug. He is not even professional. He kills just out of stupidity or desire of a pointless revenge, that ultimately will severely damage himself. Further evidence of his cheap personality is shown when he instantly falls for the vulgar, tasteless girl Gwen (Jean Harlow). By the way, Harlow looks remarkably unattractive (to our modern eyes, at least). Was it a choice of director Wellmann? Matt is slightly better than Tom, but clearly he has not the guts to cross his mate. <br/><br/>In my opinion a major credit of the film is that it systematically avoids cliché. Neither Tom nor Matt are outcomes of poverty and social injustice. They come from simple but honest, decent and loving families. But they are both bad (that&#39;s the word) and they use the freedom and opportunities of their democratic country to make evil.<br/><br/>In &quot;The Public Enemy&quot; we find probably the first instances of the beautiful stylish cinematography and clever camera-work that will become the trade-mark of later gangster and noir movies. Some scenes are unforgettable, like the final one, or that under the rain, or that of Cagney abusing the girl. The brief scene of the killing of the horse is pure cinematic genius.<br/><br/>In the film there are also some naiveness and clumsiness, though. The way Tom undergoes the personality of his good brother is far-fetched. It is not clear why a gangster in a hospital, wounded in a gun-fight, is not under strict police control. The behavior of Tom&#39;s boss in the ending is illogical. Moreover, the part where Tom and Matt are kids is too long (we audience are all eager to see Cagney!), and action is a bit scarce for a gangster movie. <br/><br/>&quot;The Public Enemy&quot; was Cagney&#39;s breakout film, and really he makes a powerful and accurate job. Actually, a strong acting is provided by the whole cast. The director William A. Wellmann handles the movie with sound talent.<br/><br/>&quot;The Public Enemy&quot; is a beautiful and historically important movie. I recommend it to any cinema-lover

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Reviewed by jagfx 7

&quot;The Godfather&quot; trilogy and &quot;Goodfellas&quot; owe a lot to this gangster film that preceded them both by at least fifty years. &quot;The Public Enemy&quot; was perhaps one of the first mob films that followed the rise and fall of a gangster and showed not only the implication of his actions on himself but on his family as well.<br/><br/>The film is far from perfect. The first ten minutes of the film in which we are shown a glimpse into the characters&#39; childhood are jerky at best and feel as if much of it was left on the cutting room floor. The movie&#39;s incessant fast pace thereafter don&#39;t allow for much to sink in, but Cagney saves the day with an absolutely fiery performance. Not one person is spared from his bubbling anger and ferocious delivery.<br/><br/>Finally, the ending will leave you gasping - even by today&#39;s standards.<br/><br/>&quot;The Public Enemy&quot; is a must see for any true fan of the mob movie genre.

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