Cast & Crew
Roy Del Ruth
George E. Stone
Independent taxi driver Pop Riley is forced off his corner by a company trying to control the taxi business and, while defending himself, shoots and kills one of the gang. He is sentenced to prison. Some of the independent drivers call a meeting and ask Pop's daughter Sue to speak. Hot-tempered Matt Nolan is furious with Sue when instead of urging the drivers to action, she reports that violence will not be effective. She adds that her father just died in prison. Despite his anger, Matt starts dating Sue. She likes him, but is disturbed by his ready temper. He even starts a fight on the way to the marriage license bureau. Celebrating with friends at a nightclub the evening after their marriage, Matt and Sue are insulted by Buck Gerard, the man responsible for the attacks on the independents. Sue manages to prevent Matt from responding, but when Matt's brother Dan tries to talk Gerard into leaving, Gerard stabs and kills him. Matt refuses to tell the police who killed his brother because he wants to take revenge himself. Knowing how much Sue wants to prevent this, Marie, Gerard's girl, begs her for the money to help Gerard leave town. Matt learns about her visit and follows Sue to Gerard's hideout. Marie and Sue manage to keep Matt from Gerard long enough for the police to arrive. At the last minute, Matt empties his gun into the door of the room where Gerard is hiding, but the police find when they open the door that he has fallen to his death while trying to escape. Sue decides to leave Matt, but before she finally moves away, Matt begs her to come back and she agrees.
Roy Del Ruth
George E. Stone
Leo F. Forbstein
James Van Trees
Made at Warner Bros. the year after Cagney had exploded into stardom in that studio's The Public Enemy (1931), Taxi! casts the pugnacious performer as Matt Nolan, a New York City cabbie pushed to the wall by a syndicate that wants to control independent taxi companies. Loretta Young costars as his girlfriend and eventual wife, Sue, whose father (Guy Kibbee) runs the service that Matt drives for. When the older man is sent to prison for shooting at a truck driver who smashes his cab, Nolan emerges as the leader of the combative cabbies.
Taxi! marks the first occasion when Cagney dances on screen, as Matt and Sue enter a Peabody contest at a nightclub. To play his competition on the dance floor, Cagney recommended his pal, fellow tough-guy-dancer George Raft. The scene culminates in Raft winning the contest and getting slugged by Cagney for his trouble. Within a year or so, Raft -- uncredited here -- would emerge as a Warner Bros. star in his own right.
Young later confessed to developing a crush on Cagney during the filming of Taxi!. "I admired him so much, though I could never tell him so," she revealed. "I remember having this romantic dream about him...in which I was drowning and he rescued me." Young was also very admiring of her co-star's acting ability, recalling that Cagney had "complete control over expressing the whole gamut of emotions with his eyes. He could accomplish with a glance what other actors need a whole bag of tricks to put over."
As in The Public Enemy, several scenes in Taxi! involved the use of live machine-gun bullets. After a few of the slugs narrowly missed Cagney's head, he outlawed the practice on future films.
Director: Roy Del Ruth
Screenplay: John Bright, Kubec Glasmon, from play The Blind Spot by Kenyon Nicholson
Cinematography: James Van Trees
Original Music: Leo F. Forbstein
Editing: Ralph Dawson, James Gibbon
Art Director: Esdras Hartley
Principal Cast: James Cagney (Matt Nolan), Loretta Young (Sue Reilly), George E. Stone (Skeets), Guy Kibbee (Pop Reilly), Leila Bennett (Ruby), George Raft (William "Willie" Kenny).
BW-69m. Closed captioning.
by Roger Fristoe
Say, where did you go last night? I stood in front of that cigar store so long they took me for an Indian!- Ruby
You dirty rat, I'm going to get rid of you just like you gave it to my brother!- Matt Nolan
This was the first movie in which James Cagney danced. He was in the dance contest with Loretta Young as his partner, and curiously, ex-hoofer and future star George Raft was his opponent vying for the first-place cup.
Cagney doesn't say, "You dirty rat..." He actually says, "Come out and take it you dirty, yellow-bellied rat..."
Kenyon Nicholson's story was entitled "Blind Spot." The film's working titles were The Blind Spot and Taxi, Please!. AMPAS clipping files note that Kubec Glasmon, a pseudonym, was a former druggist from Chicago who claimed extensive knowledge of the Chicago underworld. Co-writer John Bright, also from Chicago, was a former newspaperman. A segment of Warner Bros. film Side Show, starring Evelyn Knapp and Donald Cook, is shown in the movie. Modern sources note that this was one of the studio's five most successful films of 1932. This film marked the first time James Cagney danced on screen. According to modern sources, Loretta Young replaced Nancy Carroll, who replaced Joan Blondell, who replaced Dorothy Mackaill in the role of Sue. Modern sources credit Perc Westmore with makeup. Additional credits cast listed by modern sources are: Lee Phelps (Onlooker), Harry Tenbrook (Cabby), Robert Emmet O'Connor (Cop with Jewish man), Eddie Fetherstone (Judge), Ben Taggart (Cop), Hector V. Sarno (Monument maker), Aggie Herring (Cleaning woman) and The Cotton Club Orchestra. The film was reissued in 1936.