The Public Enemy (1931)

“Why that dirty, no good, yellow-bellied stool. I’m gonna give it to him right in the head the first time I see him.” – Tom

Number of Times Seen – 1 (23 May 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Two small hoods climb their way to the top during Prohibition.

My Take on it – This is a film that I have heard about for years but never had the opportunity to see until now.

James Cagney is well known as an actor who plays the character of a gangster really well and it largely is due to this role as we get to see how his character changes over the course of the story from small time hood to a leader of crime and theft which eventually turns to an all-out gang war between different gangster factions.

The story itself woks really well and parts of this film have become quite iconic over the years.

As a gangster story, it still remains relevant and interesting even after 87 years since the outlook on life and crime depicted here hasn’t changed much since then.

Cagney does a wonderful job in the lead role and is able to show his character in different social standings and stages of his life quite convincingly.

The most iconic scene of this film is the grapefruit one and has been parodied so much over the years despite it still being a very controversial scene.

There is no doubt that this film is still one of the best gangster films ever made despite its age.

Bottom Line – Great film that despite its age still holds up quite well. Apparently the outlook on life and crime hasn’t changed very much in 87 years. Cagney is great in the lead and is able to play his character at numerous stages and social standing in life quite well. The grapefruit scene is the one everyone always talks about and it works really well even if it might be a bit controversial. Definitely among the best gangster films ever made. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to James Cagney’s autobiography, Mae Clarke’s ex-husband, Lew Brice, enjoyed the “grapefruit scene” so much that he went to the movie theater every day just to watch that scene only and leave. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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2 thoughts on “The Public Enemy (1931)

  1. Pingback: MovieRob’s Monthly Roundup – May 2018 |

  2. Pingback: The Large Association of Movie Blogs | Acting School 101 – July 2019 – James Cagney

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