Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Taxi! (1932)

James Cagney and Loretta Young are a dynamic team in TAXI!, a pre-Code film about two rival taxi companies engaged in a violent battle for turf in New York City.

Cagney is, not surprisingly, amazing -- he fights, he dances, he romances, he even speaks Yiddish! His character is very unpolitically correct, in the manner of the day -- his characters back then thought nothing of slapping women -- but he's fascinating as a man walking the line between being a loving husband or a brute who's going to end up in jail or dead.

Young is Cagney's equal as a woman who can stand up to him, love him, and call him to account for his behavior when he crosses the line. Young's early '30s films are fascinating -- the glam, very cool Loretta (she was about 19 in this film) accompanying Cagney to a nightclub isn't the image one has of her from her later films. She's wonderful.

The movie is fast-paced and interesting. My one complaint is that Leila Burnett, as Young's friend, plays a character who talks in an endless monotone, boring those around her. Well, she also bores the audience! However, to compensate there is a fun sighting of George Raft in a bit part as the man who faces off against Cagney in a dance contest. Guy Kibbee and Dorothy Burgess are also in the cast.

TAXI! was directed by Roy Del Ruth. It runs 69 minutes.

This movie isn't yet available on DVD -- a set of Loretta Young pre-Code movies would be wonderful! -- but can be seen in the library on cable's Turner Classic Movies.

Update: This film is now available from the Warner Archive.


Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

This was a movie that I was hoping would've been included in last year's Cagney Signature Col. Vol. 2- but alas. Then I hoped that perhaps it would be in the upcoming Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2- alas again. Like you I really would love to see a Loretta Young set. Although Warners has made a lot of announcements already and is celebrating their 85th year this year, I have heard there a several more titles and sets yet to be announced for late 08 early 09. So cross your fingers.

5:56 AM  

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