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Each Dawn I Die [Import]

James Cagney , George Raft , William Keighley    Unrated   VHS Tape
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Throw me back in the hole, I can take it" July 16 2000
Format:VHS Tape
William Keighley's Each Dawn I Die set the tone for the prison genre. Oz it is not, but for 1939, Each Dawn I Die presents viewer insights to the jargon, code of ethics, and behavior of hardened convicts. John Wray as Pete the prison guard barks through his lines like a rattled pit bull. George Raft, who seemed to be forever dressed in prison garb, plays Stacey a "lifer" who is sprung to aid newsreporter Ross (James Cagney) who has been framed for manslaughter. Cagney shows glimpses of his emotional explosiveness as Ross breaks down befoe a parole board. Raft is in prime form cooly delivering lines that would make Edward G. Robinson proud. The prison break scenes are shot and edited realistically and provide reference points for future prison films such as Brute Force and Caged. Still other scenes are highly improbable and mirorred in Hollywood fare. ( Stacey giving himself up in front of the penitentiary, and the warden's mushy sentimentality to name just two). These shortcomings restricted Each Dawn I Die from attaining a higher echelon among crime films. Still the sixty-one year old film retains its credibility among the genre and is worth owning.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cagney Is In His Element Aug. 3 2003
Format:VHS Tape
James Cagney and George Raft are in the prime of their respective careers in this film about life in prison. Cagney is a convict who is innocent. Raft is his ally who leads an attempted escape. Cagney is very much in his element in this environment and plays his part with particular gusto.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Framed By Crooked Politicians July 25 2003
Format:VHS Tape
EACH DAWN I DIE is a movie about a reporter who is framed for manslaughter by crooked politicians and sent to prison where he befriends a hardened criminal. Most of the story takes place in prison as the reporter slowly turns into an embittered inmate. James Cagney stars as the reporter and George Raft plays the part of his prison buddy. The strong supporting cast includes Jane Bryan, George Bancroft, Victor Jury and Maxie Rosenbloom.
Director William Keighley also directed THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER and THE FIGHTING 69th.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Throw me back in the hole, I can take it" July 16 2000
By Vincent Tesi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
William Keighley's Each Dawn I Die set the tone for the prison genre. Oz it is not, but for 1939, Each Dawn I Die presents viewer insights to the jargon, code of ethics, and behavior of hardened convicts. John Wray as Pete the prison guard barks through his lines like a rattled pit bull. George Raft, who seemed to be forever dressed in prison garb, plays Stacey a "lifer" who is sprung to aid newsreporter Ross (James Cagney) who has been framed for manslaughter. Cagney shows glimpses of his emotional explosiveness as Ross breaks down befoe a parole board. Raft is in prime form cooly delivering lines that would make Edward G. Robinson proud. The prison break scenes are shot and edited realistically and provide reference points for future prison films such as Brute Force and Caged. Still other scenes are highly improbable and mirorred in Hollywood fare. ( Stacey giving himself up in front of the penitentiary, and the warden's mushy sentimentality to name just two). These shortcomings restricted Each Dawn I Die from attaining a higher echelon among crime films. Still the sixty-one year old film retains its credibility among the genre and is worth owning.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 1939 BLOCKBUSTER. Jan. 28 2003
By "scotsladdie" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
The title refers to what many prison inmates feel when they awaken in the morning: it's a timeless - albeit poetic - metaphor. As a pugnacious reporter, Cagney unearths evidence that will put some hight-level politicians in jail. Before he can get his material into print, he is abducted, knocked unconscious and put into a car, booze poured over him & the vehicle sent careening down the street where it runs over a man and kills him. The brutal frame-up works: Cagney is convicted of manslaughter and is sent to prison, where he befriends smooth crook George Raft (as "Hood" Stacey), a crime boss. On the train to the Big House, Raft smiles and jokingly asks Cagney to write a piece about him - cause he likes his name in the paper...Once inside Rocky Point, Cagney pleads again and again for parole, which is repeatedly denied him...Cagney and Raft had known each other in vaudeville back in the late twenties. Raft, a real-life tough guy had various connections with hoodlums and bootleggers: Owney Madden & Joe Adonis to name a couple. Raft even picked up their own particular mannerisms and he had a very short fuse in real life. But Raft got along well with Cagney: advantageously making this film a blockbuster hit in its day: owing to a tight script and the electric acting of the leads, this one is far above average in the category of crime films.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep film, filled with emotion, action, love, and pain. July 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This film is about a man who was framed and then put in jail. It shows his struggle to bring the real criminals to justice. Definately a classic!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Prison Films Aug. 13 2006
By Douglas M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Each Dawn I Die", released in 1939, is the best of the prison films which Warner Brothers made in the thirties. Even the title is fantastic. James Cagney plays a reporter working for a newspaper who is exposing the politicians who run the rackets. Cagney is framed, convicted and sent to prison for 10 years as retaliation. There, he meets hardened criminal George Raft.

The film was produced by Hal Wallis and benefits from a bigger budget than most of its predecessors. There is a more detailed and convincing expose of prison life than usual and cliches are avoided. You get a real feel for the hopelessness and boredom of the inmates. Cagney is subdued and underplays - very effective. George Raft, usually a wooden and stiff actor, rises to Cagney's level. Their friendship becomes very touching. The film develops real suspense as you wonder if Cagney will ever be released. Jane Bryan plays Cagney's girlfriend with a small but key part in the plot. Bryan was a very talented actress on the Warner's payroll who retired early when she married. She invests the part with great depth and is touching.

The print is excellent and the DVD has lots of extras, including a really worthwhile commentary by Haden Guest; at last, a commentator with a pleasant voice who avoids trivial biographical details and really observes the film as it unfolds. A contemporary featurette documentary on the language of the gangster film is included but it is by far the weakest in this series - a lot of historians/actors etc saying which lines they liked and who they imitated as children - yawn! There is also another of the Warner's blooper shorts which are entertaining, particularly if you know the actors on the studio payroll then. "A Day at San Anita" is is technicolour short film set around the race track. It stars the nauseating Shirley Temple contemporary Sybil Jason who is cloying in the worst child star sense. The colour is excellent and there is some interest in the shots of stars such as Bette Davis and then husband Harmon Nelson and Ruby Keeler with Al Jolson. The cartoon, which definitely does not date to 1939, is OK with a rooster that may have developed into Foghorn Leghorn. Finally, the Lux Radio version of the film is included with Franchot Tone replacing Cagney. These radio versions really only have historical interest.

The DVD is excellent value, particularly if purchased as part of the Warner's Tough Guys Collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cagney Subdued, Cagney Electrified - Great Psychological Study Feb. 25 2008
By luvtheCag - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
1939's Each Dawn I Die shows Jimmy Cagney in two different lights. First, as subdued yet confident star reporter, Frank Ross, who is sent to prison on a frame-up by crooked politicians. He plays by the rules and keeps his nose clean.

As the story progresses, and Frank's hopes of being released grow dim, his frustration and despair begin to grow in the brutal environment that is Rocky Point Penitentiary. We start to see a psychological change in our hero that almost reaches the point of no return. Don't miss his scene before the parole board, where he transforms from a docile puppy to a raging tiger to a broken stallion.

On the DVD commentary by film historian, Haden Guest, Each Dawn I Die is hailed as a precursor of psychologically intensive films that weren't to be seen until the later 40s. Cagney is brilliant, as usual. His spunkiness and pathos play off each other to perfection, and his body language and facial expressions keep your eyes riveted to him in just about every scene.
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