The Public Enemy (1931) 4.29/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 81.3
Genre: Gangster
Duration: 83 mins
Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods

William Wellman’s seminal film about a young hoodlum’s rise through the ranks of organised crime during the prohibition era gave the soon to be iconic James Cagney the opportunity to show his presence and he didn’t disappoint. The action scenes were hugely innovative and remarkably captured and Wellman’s use of the camera in general is particularly awe-inspiring. Much of this was controversial at the time and still packs a punch today. The Public Enemy is all about Cagney however, and the electricity he so effortlessly demonstrated.

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