Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tonight's Movie: The Roaring Twenties (1939)

We pulled THE ROARING TWENTIES off our shelf today and watched it for the first time, because nothing says the 4th of July quite like speakeasies and gangsters (grin). Seriously, we were inspired to watch it by TCM's outstanding new documentary, 1939: HOLLYWOOD'S GREATEST YEAR, which I highly recommend.

THE ROARING TWENTIES is a terrific example of the Warner Bros. style of the '30s. James Cagney plays Eddie, a WWI vet who falls into bootlegging after he's unable to land a more respectable job after the war. Eddie ends up in partnership with George (Humphrey Bogart), a wartime friend who is much more ruthless than Eddie, with predictably lethal and disastrous results.

Jeffrey Lynn plays Lloyd, an Army buddy of Eddie's who becomes his lawyer...and his competition for the love of sweet, beautiful songstress Jean (Priscilla Lane). Gladys George and Frank McHugh play Eddie's loyal friends, while Paul Kelly makes an impression in his brief scenes as another gangster.

The movie has good pacing, a great cast, and some truly iconic Warner Bros. images, including the memorable final shot of Cagney and Gladys George on the church steps. If you enjoy Warner Bros. films of the era, this is the movie for you.

THE ROARING TWENTIES was directed by Raoul Walsh. It was shot in black and white and runs 104 minutes.

THE ROARING TWENTIES can be seen on DVD as a single-disc release or as part of the Warner Gangsters Volume 1 boxed set. Extras for THE ROARING TWENTIES include the "Warner Night at the Movies" hosted by Leonard Maltin, a featurette, and a commentary track. The DVD picture is absolutely superb.

THE ROARING TWENTIES has also had a VHS release.

THE ROARING TWENTIES can also be seen on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer can be seen here.

A promo for TCM's 1939 documentary is here.


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