Writer: John Wexley, Warren Duff
Producer Samuel Bischoff
Director: Michael Curtiz
Cast: James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, The Dead End Kids, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft
So I was listening to the Andrew Klavan podcast and he was mentioning old classic movies that he watched on T.V. growing up. Turns out he and I had seen many of the same movies growing up except this one. I had never seen Angels with Dirty Faces. Although I had heard of it. So I decided to see if I could find it streaming somewhere. Turns out there is a Netflix channel that streams old movies that played on the television.
So sheltering at home I watched this movie. I’m not going to give the entire plot away I think that like Andrew Klavan said in his podcast that finding out what happens in the end makes the movie.
The movie looks at two kids growing up as young hoodlums one, played by James Cagney, gets sent to jail the other, played by Pat O’Brien, turns his life around. They find themselves back in the same neighborhood one is a gangster the other a priest. One trying to keep the street kids, played by the Dead End Kids, from turning into gangsters, the other telling the gangster life is the best. But the gangster life has consequences and the end comes for James Cagney his friend the priest asks him for one favor.
Couple things about this movie. The gangsters aren’t portrayed as glamorous. They may go to the fancy bars but they’re scum and they act it. They double cross each other and are obviously evil, there is no redeeming qualities. Even in scenes with the kids the character played by Cagney treats them like things not like people. This is what makes this movie good a realistic look at what is fake about the glamour of the “gangster life”.
Good movie, great classic, go see it if you want. Five stars.