5.0 out of 5 stars "The Public Enemy (1931) ... James Cagney ... William A. Wellman (Director) (2005)"
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "THE PUBLIC ENEMY" (23 April 1931) (84 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Friends Tom and Matt go from small time to big time crime during prohibition --- Tom tires of his mistress Kitty (he pushes a grapefruit into her face) and falls for Gwen who resists his advances except when it looks as though he might dump her ---...
Published on Jan. 19 2011 by J. Lovins
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3.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN AVERAGE TRANSFER OF A CLASSIC CRIME CAPER
William Wellman's "The Public Enemy" (1931) remains the benchmark acheivement in crime cinema by which all successors tip their hats. It stars James Cagney in a breakout performance that established him as one of Warner Bros. 'tough guys' in their so called "murderer's row" roster of heavies. Here Cagney is Tom Powers, a deviant from the wrong side of the tracks who...
Published on Jan. 21 2005 by Nix Pix
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN AVERAGE TRANSFER OF A CLASSIC CRIME CAPER,
This review is from: Public Enemy (DVD)William Wellman's "The Public Enemy" (1931) remains the benchmark acheivement in crime cinema by which all successors tip their hats. It stars James Cagney in a breakout performance that established him as one of Warner Bros. 'tough guys' in their so called "murderer's row" roster of heavies. Here Cagney is Tom Powers, a deviant from the wrong side of the tracks who refuses to mellow with age. Together with his buddy, Matt Doyle (Edward Woods), Tom becomes a one man crime wave - taking his chances, living high and accosting and abusing women along the way. His grapefruit in Kitty's (Mae Clarke) kisser is justly remembered as a violent and violating act against the fairer sex. But Tom doesn't care. Life is cheap and exciting. Jean Harlow cuts an elegantly seedy swath as Gwen Allen. Joan Blondell, as another toss away trollop - but with a knife in her - adds to the raw tension of the story. Only the congenial, Mike (Donald Cook) pleads with Tom to mend his wicked ways. He is, after all, Tom's only brother. Taut energy and the enigmatic presence of Cagney (then on the verge of international stardom) make "The Public Enemy" enthralling and electric.
Warner's DVD transfer is justly an improvement over previous video incarnations. Though age related artifacts still exist the remastered print elements are generally smooth and inviting. Certain brief sections of the film appear to have been duped in using second or third generation film sources, leading to a considerable variation in image quality. When it's good, the image exhibits a sharp, nicely contrasted beauty not found in previous releases of this film to video. The gray scale has been impeccibly rendered. There are moments where film grain will appear more excessive but this, again, is the fault of a 70 plus year old negative. The audio is mono and exhibits a decided hiss which is a limitation of the old Warner Vitaphone process of sound recording. No more could have been done by the good people at Warners on this transfer. It is head and shoulders above anything the film has looked like in years. Extras include an engaging audio commentary by film historian Robert Sklar, a featurette and the return of Leonard Maltin, hosting "Warner Night at the Movies." Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Public Enemy (1931) ... James Cagney ... William A. Wellman (Director) (2005)",
This review is from: Public Enemy (DVD)Warner Bros. Pictures presents "THE PUBLIC ENEMY" (23 April 1931) (84 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Friends Tom and Matt go from small time to big time crime during prohibition --- Tom tires of his mistress Kitty (he pushes a grapefruit into her face) and falls for Gwen who resists his advances except when it looks as though he might dump her --- When Matt is killed, Tom goes after the murderers.
"The Public Enemy" was Cagney's breakout film, and really he makes a powerful and accurate job --- Strong acting is provided by the whole cast --- The director William A. Wellmann handles the movie with sound talent.
Mae Clarke was immortalized as the recipient of James Cagney's classic grapefruit-in-the-face.
Academy Award nominations for Best Writing & Best Original Story
Under the production staff of:
William A. Wellman [Director]
Kubec Glasmon [Screenplay]
John Bright [Screenplay]
Harvey F. Thew [Screen adaptation]
Darryl F. Zanuck [Producer]
Devereaux Jennings [Cinematographer]
Edward M. McDermott [Film Editor]
1. William A. Wellman [Director]
Date of Birth: 29 February 1896 - Brookline, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 9 December 1975 - Los Angeles, California
2. James Cagney [aka: James Francis Cagney]
Date of Birth: 17 July 1899 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 30 March 1986 - Stanfordville, New York
the cast includes:
James Cagney - Tom Powers
Jean Harlow - Gwen Allen
Edward Woods - Matt Doyle
Joan Blondell - Mamie
Donald Cook - Mike Powers
Leslie Fenton - Nails Nathan
Beryl Mercer - Ma Powers
Robert Emmett O'Connor - Paddy Ryan
Murray Kinnell - Putty Nose
Clark Burroughs - Dutch
Mae Clarke ... Kitty
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 84 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (01/25/2005)
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Final Scene,
PUBLIC ENEMY received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Story (John Bright and Kubec Glasmon). The film has certainly stood the test of time and the final scene has remained unforgettable. William Wellman also directed BEAU GESTE, WINGS and THE STORY OF G.I. JOE.
5.0 out of 5 stars Public Enemy: The Warning that Failed,
The movie opens with a juvenile Tommy living with his family in Chicago, learning even then the rudiments of a criminal code of honor and justice that he would adhere to for the rest of his life. At home, his policeman father often beats him with a strap in such a futile way that Tommy's nonchalant response brings to mind a future Marlon Brando telling his abductors who are beating him that his old man hits harder than that. Although the film does expicitly show the father being abusive to the rest of the family, director William Wellman suggests that the violence inflicted on a youthful Tommy is not limited only to him. Violence, then, becomes a way of life and a solution to both personal and professional problems. As an adult, Tommy (now played by Cagney) and his chum played by Edward Woods embark on a life of crime that shows both as willing to kill when killing can solve a problem. Further, Tommy cold bloodedly kills a man in revenge for a hurt done years before in a way that resonates as savage even by today's standards. The victim begs Tommy for his life even as he plays a piano and sings a song in the hope that the song will arouse a shred of pity. Tommy shoots him in mid key and walks out of the room without a backward glance. Tommy's relations with women are equally twisted by his belief that violence is the solution to any issue. The infamous grapefruit scene with Mae Clarke has lingered long in the audience's mind as an archetype of misogynistic hatred of women. Tommy seems a little more relaxed in the company of Jean Harlow whose love for him alters and softens the audience's perception of his clear failings. As Tommy pokes his friends and family on their respective chins, the viewer can sense that Tommy is struggling to express a lighter, gentler side that his environment has taught him to suppress. When Tommy walks into a bar to avenge the killing of his best friend, his smile radiates his certainty that his revenge will kill him, but his code of honor demands nothing less. When he exits the bar, he has killed them all but is badly wounded. As he staggers, he shouts, 'I am not so tough.' He may have thought so, but the audience would probably disagree. His stoic convalescence, his being kidnapped by a rival gang, and his unexpected return as a bound mummy left leaning on his mother's door have rendered the public perception of Tommy Powers in a way far different from the producers' original intent. Tommy Powers was meant to be seen only as the criminal scum of the earth. James Cagney managed to do that but also forced viewers to look behind the snarl to see a little boy being whipped by a sadistic father and learning even then how to hide his emotions under a veneer or false bravado.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one with the "grapefruit scene" -- A Classic!,
"Public Enemy" joins the trio of classic gangster films, including "Scarface" (Hummphrey Bogard) and "Little Caesar" (Edward G. Robinson), setting the conventions of the genre. A young Jean Harlow makes a lasting impression with her stellar performance. The original script received an Oscar nomination. A five-star movie classic!*****
5.0 out of 5 stars Influential and powerful, and still compelling.,
4.0 out of 5 stars Still tough at 70,
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant and underrated film,
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest of the great,
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great classic!!,
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This review is from: Public Enemy (DVD)loved this movie, very good gangster movie from the early 30's, you gotta love james gagney in this movie, what a joy
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Public Enemy by William A. Wellman (DVD - 2005)
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