This little Warner's flick was hot stuff back in 1931! Two friends, Tom (Jimmy) and Matt (Eddie Woods), start their career of criminal activities with petty thefts and later graduate to big-time rackets. Tom's brother (Donald Cook) cannot convice Tom to reform, but manages to keep his brother's sordid activities from their mother's (Beryl Mercer) knowledge. Cagney is terrific as usual in his zesty,energetic, keenly vivid and sharply humourous performance; both critics and the public alike took notice of this rising young star. Jean Harlow, as Gwen - the icey platinum blonde siren - hadn't yet learned the necessary techniques of film acting and her performance borders on being ludicrous; critics of the day were less than kind in their reviews. For some obscure reason, the second lead - Edward Woods - never clicked in films; just why I don't know; he was quite good as Matt and he was definitely photogenic - two years later, he was reduced to playing a bit as a bell-hop who brought John Barrymore his booze in DINNER AT EIGHT. One of the very few actresses I could never abide was the whiney Beryl Mercer. Originally, ZaSu Pitts was to play Lew Ayre's bedridden mother in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (made the year before) but preview audiences snickered at the very sight of her as they associated her with comedy roles - the very sight of Mercer - her replacement - is enough to make one wince! A classic scene: A less than enchanted Mae Clarke gets half a grapefruit smashed right smack onto her left cheek by the no-nonsense Jimmy at the breakfast table! (this was supposedly NOT in the shooting script, but rather improvised!).