Angels With Dirty Faces
- Original title
Angels With Dirty Faces
- Running time
- 97 min.
- United States
John Wexley, Warren Duff, Rowland Brown
Sol Polito (B&W)
James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft, Leo Gorcey, Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Gabriel Dell, Huntz Hall, Bernard Punsly
Film noir. Thriller | Mafia
- Gangster Rocky Sullivan (James Cagney) returns from prison to make a name for himself in the crime world. He's soon discovered by the Dead End Kids, who idolize him, and childhood pal Father Jerry Connolly (Pat O'Brien). The good Father has taken a different turn from Rocky and is struggling to bring the Kids around; while still friends with Rocky, he tries to persuade him to steer clear of the gang of urchins. Rocky runs afoul of the law, however, when he guns down his former partners Frazier (Humphrey Bogart) and Keefer (George Bancroft) after they betray him over a cut of crime-related profits. Seen as a whole, Angels with Dirty Faces may seem dated to many viewers, but its ending is still enough to bring chills. Director Michael Curtiz infused this gritty 1938 effort with an amazing amount of energy and pacing; the Dead End Kids, in their screen debut, supply a fair amount of comic relief along with their dramatic roles. It's also worth noting that at the time, the notion of a criminal being a product of his environment was a controversial one. The swaggering bantam-rooster role played by Cagney, one of the screen's greats, helped define how he would be perceived (and parodied) for years to come. This movie easily stands along with The Roaring Twenties and Little Caesar as one of the most important, archetypal gangster films of the '30s.
: 3 Nominations for Oscar: Best Actor (James Cagney), Director (Curtiz), Screenplay
: New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actor (James Cagney)
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