Cast & Crew
In France, as the Armistice is signed, three American soldiers speculate about their future. Eddie Bartlett believes that his old job as a garage mechanic awaits him, while George Hally, a saloon keeper, has no fears of the just enacted prohibition and Lloyd Hart, a law graduate, plans to take up the law. However, the America to which they return home has changed. Eddie finds his old job filled and,in the face of rampant unemployment, is forced to drive a cab. One night, he unwittingly delivers a package of liquor to Panama Smith, a nightclub hostess, and the two are arrested. Eddie refuses to testify against Panama, and out of gratitude, she pays his fine and backs him in the bootlegging business, where he soars to prosperity and power. While at a show one night, Eddie meets Jean Sherman, his penpal during the war who is now an aspiring singer, and falls in love, not realizing that the girl is interested in Lloyd, who is now working as Eddie's attorney. Another person from his war days comes back into his life when Eddie meets George while hijacking a load of liquor from bootlegger Nick Brown. The two old army pals become partners, but are destined to become enemies. Ruined in the stock market crash, Eddie goes back to driving a cab and meets Jean, who is now happily married to Lloyd. George, the object of a criminal investigation, learns that Lloyd, who is now employed in the district attorney's office, has gathered evidence against him, and sends a death warning to Jean, who appeals to Eddie for help. When Eddie goes to George to urge him not to harm Lloyd and Jean, George orders Eddie killed. Pulling a gun, Eddie shoots George, but then meets his own death at the hands of George's gunmen.
Harry C. Bradley
E. A. Brown
Edwin A. Dupar
Leo F. Forbstein
Jack L. Warner
The Roaring Twenties
Characters in The Roaring Twenties were based loosely on actual Prohibition-era personalities, such as nightclub hostess Texas Guinan ("Hello, sucker!" was her refrain to club patrons) and New York gangster Larry Fay, who was reportedly the model for the literary character Jay Gatsby.
Incorporating newsreel clips and popular music from the period, and a voiceover by an omniscient reporter who assures the audience that what theyare about to see is based on true events, The Roaring Twenties has something of a pseudo-documentary feel.
Humphrey Bogart co-starred in the film with Cagney; that year, they made three memorable gangster films together for Warners, which specialized at that time in gritty crime dramas. In addition to The Roaring Twenties, their last film together, the two appeared in Angels With Dirty Faces and The Oklahoma Kid, both in 1939.
Cagney found that the freedom to improvise that Walsh allowed him helped boost the script into an above-average genre film. Cagney recalled the collaborative atmosphere on the set, remembering how one actor, Frank McHugh, suggested a different opening scenario than the one provided in the script. All agreed to trash the opening scene and go with McHugh's suggestion, thus providing the irreverent banter between Cagney and Bogart, who meet as doughboys in a World War I foxhole.
Cagney reminisced later about the little touches that he felt "added flavor to bland writing," including the addition of the hilarious exchange between his character and Priscilla Lane's, in which his advances are turned down in humiliating fashion. In another scene, Cagney spiced up a run-of-the-mill fight by positioning one opponent to accidentally hit another adversary after being punched by Cagney's character. The film also benefits from an able supporting cast -- notably Gladys George (who inherited the part from Ann Sheridan) as the Texas Guinan character, plus McHugh and Lane, as Cagney's romantic interest.
The film did extremely good box office and Cagney won a Best Actor award from the National Board of Review -- quite an accomplishment in a year that saw the premieres of such classics as Gone With the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and Stagecoach.
The Roaring Twenties turned out to be a transitional film in Cagney's career; his subsequent roles during the 1940s would focus on his song-and-dance talents in such movies as Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Walsh would work with Bogart again in They Drive By Night (1940) and High Sierra (1941), in which Bogart started to create the world-weary character that would be most identified with the Bogie legend. Ten years after The Roaring Twenties, Cagney would reunite with Walsh for White Heat (1949), in which he would revive the gangster character that put him on the map.
Producer: Sam Bischoff
Director: Raoul Walsh
Screenplay: Richard Macaulay, Robert Rossen, Jerry Wald
Art Direction: Max Parker
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Costume Design: Milo Anderson
Film Editing: Jack Killifer
Original Music: Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld
Cast: James Cagney (Eddie Bartlett), Humphrey Bogart (George Hally), Priscilla Lane (Jean Sherman), Jeffrey Lynn (Lloyd Hart), Gladys George (Panama Smith), Frank McHugh (Danny Green), Paul Kelly (Nick Brown), Elisabeth Risdon (Mrs. Sherman).
BW-107m. Closed captioning.
by Genevieve McGillicuddy
The Roaring Twenties
The Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection on DVD
All six titles have been fully restored and digitally remastered, and are loaded with special features including historian commentaries and new making-of featurettes. Each disc also contains an exclusive "Warner Night at the Movies" segment. Hosted by Leonard Maltin, each bonus feature recreates moviegoer attractions such as newsreels, comedy shorts, cartoons and trailers from the years each film was released. In addition, The Public Enemy DVD contains several minutes of recovered footage not seen in more than 70 years.
Major Hollywood studios in the '30s and '40s were each known for their distinctive styles (MGM for its musicals; Universal for its horror films, etc.). Warner Bros. was best known for firmly establishing the genre of gangster films, which were also noted for their socially conscious themes as well as their simple visual look (low key lighting and sparse sets). Nowhere were these elements more prominent than in the films of the Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection.
"We are thrilled to be finally releasing these highly-demanded films in an exciting new DVD collection," said George Feltenstein, WHV's Senior Vice President Classic Catalog. "These are the films that defined our studio in its early years, and which in turn defined the gangster genre. One only has to recall Jimmy Cagney squashing his grapefruit into Mae Clarke's face (The Public Enemy); Cagney yelling "Made it, Ma! Top o' the world!" (White Heat); or Robinson barking, "This is Rico speaking. Rico! R-I-C-O! Rico! Little Caesar, that's who!" to know that these signature Warner Bros. titles represent the genre's best of the best. These films are truly timeless in their appeal, and we insisted on waiting until full restorations were completed before we would bring them to the discerning DVD marketplace. I trust that all the fans will agree it will have been well worth the wait."
Details of The Gangsters Collection Films
The Public Enemy (1931)
The Public Enemy showcases James Cagney's powerful 1931 breakthrough performance as streetwise tough guy Tom Powers, but only because production chief Darryl F. Zanuck made a late casting change. When shooting began, Cagney had a secondary role but Zanuck soon spotted Cagney's screen dominance and gave him the star part. From that moment, an indelible genre classic and an enduring star career were both born. Bristling with '20s style, dialogue and desperation under the masterful directorial eye of William A. Wellman, this is a virtual time capsule of the Prohibition era: taut, gritty and hard-hitting. Contains several restored scenes (deleted from subsequent reissue versions due to enforcement of the Production code) from the original release version of the film, unseen since 1931.
Public Enemy DVD special features include:
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931 with Newsreel, Comedy Short "The Eyes Have It," Cartoon "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile" and 1931 Trailer Gallery
- New Featurette "Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public"
- Commentary by Film Historian Robert Sklar
- 1954 Re-release Foreword
White Heat (1949)
Playing a psychotic thug, Cody Jarrett, devoted to his hard-boiled "ma," James Cagney gives a performance to match his electrifying work in The Public Enemy. Bracingly directed by Raoul Walsh, this fast-paced thriller tracing Jarrett's violent life in and out of jail is among the most vivid screen performances of Cagney's career, and the excitement it generates will put you on top of the world!
White Heat DVD special features include:
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1949 with Newsreel, Comedy Short "So You Think You¿re Not Guilty," Cartoon "Homeless Hare" and 1949 Trailer Gallery
- New Featurette "White Heat: Top of the World"
- Commentary by Film Historian Drew Casper
Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)
Off-screen pals James Cagney and Pat O'Brien team up for the sixth time in this enduring gangster classic nominated for three Academy Awards®. Cagney's Rocky Sullivan is a charismatic tough kid from New York's Hell's Kitchen whose underworld rise makes him a hero to a gang of slum punks. O'Brien is Father Connolly, the boyhood chum-turned-priest who vows to end Rocky's influence. Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), the film also stars Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan. Cagney's role as Rocky earned him the 1938 New York Film Critics Award for Best Actor along with his first Best Actor Oscar® nomination.
Angels With Dirty Faces DVD special features include:
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1938 with Newsreel, Musical Short "Out Where the Stars Begin," Cartoon "Porky and Daffy" and 1938 Trailer Gallery
- New Featurette "Angels with Dirty Faces: Whaddya Hear? Whaddya Say?"
- Commentary by Film Historian Dana Polan
- Audio-Only Bonus: Radio Production with the Film's 2 Stars
Little Caesar (1930)
"R-I-C-O, Little Caesar, that's who!" Edward G. Robinson bellowed into the phone and Hollywood got the message. The 37-year-old Robinson, not gifted with matinee-idol looks, was nonetheless a first-class star. Little Caesar is the tale of pugnacious Caesar Enrico Bandello (Robinson), a hoodlum with a Chicago-sized chip on his shoulder, few attachments, fewer friends and no sense of underworld diplomacy.
Little Caesar DVD special features include:
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1930 with Newsreel, Spencer Tracy Short "The Hard Guy," Cartoon "Lady Play Your Mandolin" and 1930/31 Trailer Gallery
- New Featurette "Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero"
- Commentary by Film Historian Richard B. Jewell
- 1954 Re-release Foreword
The Petrified Forest (1936)
A rundown diner bakes in the Arizona heat. Inside, fugitive killer Duke Mantee sweats out a manhunt, holding disillusioned writer Alan Squier, young Gabby Maple and a handful of others hostage. The Petrified Forest, Robert E. Sherwood's 1935 Broadway success about survival of the fittest, hit the screen a year later with Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart magnificently recreating their stage roles and Bette Davis ably reteaming with her Of Human Bondage co-star Howard. The film presented Bogart with his first major starring role and helped launch his brilliant movie career.
The Petrified Forest DVD special features include:
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1936 with Newsreel, Musical Short "Rhythmitis," Cartoon "The Coo Coo Nut Grove" and 1936 Trailer Gallery
- New Featurette "The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert"
- Commentary by Bogart Biographer Eric Lax
- Audio-Only Bonus: Radio Adaptation Starring Bogart, Tyrone Power and Joan Bennett
The Roaring Twenties (1939
The speakeasy era never roared louder than in this gangland chronicle directed by Raoul Walsh (White Heat). Against a backdrop of newsreel-like montages and narration, The Roaring Twenties follows the life of jobless war veteran Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney) who turns bootlegger, dealing in "bottles instead of battles." However, battles await Eddie both inside and out of his growing empire. Outside are territorial feuds and gangland bloodlettings and inside is the treachery of his double-dealing associate George Hally (Humphrey Bogart).
The Roaring Twenties DVD special features include:
- Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1939 with Newsreel, Musical Short "All Girl Revue," Comedy Short "The Great Library Misery," Cartoon "Thugs with Dirty Mugs" and 1939 Trailer Gallery
- New Featurette "The Roaring Twenties: The World Moves on" - Commentary by Film Historian Lincoln Hurst
The Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection on DVD
You always said you were going to take real good care of me, didn't you George?- Eddie Bartlett
Wait a minute Eddie, I can explain!- George Halley
Here's one rap you ain't gonna beat!- Eddie Bartlett
Who is he?- Cop
He used to be a bigshot.- Panama Smith
I think you're a pretty decent guy. I like to talk to decent guys. They're hard to find.- Panama Smith
Things have been pretty tough, haven't they?- Panama Smith
They could be tougher. A guy in the cell with me was talkin' about bumpin' himself off. Until I get around to that, I'm doin' all right.- Eddie Bartlett
I always say, when you got a job to do, get somebody else to do it.- George Hally
I'm sick of watching you try to put out that torch you carry for her with a lot of cheap hooch. Who does the kid look like?- Panama Smith
Like her.- Eddie Bartlett
And they got a nice house.- Panama Smith
Yeah, it's a nice house if you like that kind of a house, but for me, uh, I'll take a hotel anytime. You know that.- Eddie Bartlett
Me too. Ain't it funny how our tastes have always run the same? Ever since the first time we met. I can just picture you living in the suburbs, working in a garden, raising flowers and kids. Wouldn't that be a laugh.- Panama Smith
Yeah, wouldn't I look cute?- Eddie Bartlett
The character of Panama Smith was partially based on actress and nightclub hostess Texas Guinan.
The working title of this film was The World Moves On. According to the Variety review, Mark Hellinger wrote the original story from his own personal experiences as a newspaper reporter in the 1920s. A news item in Hollywood Reporter adds that 40 former bootleggers applied for the job of technical director on this film. The one finally chosen declined screen credit. The picture marked Raoul Walsh's directorial debut at Warners. It was included in the National Board of Review's "ten best" list of 1939. Modern sources add Fred Graham to the cast.
Released in United States 1939
Anatole Litvak began direction on the film before being replaced by Raoul Walsh.
Released in USA on video.
Released in United States 1939