Directed By: Michael Curtiz
Written By: Rowland Brown, John Wexley, Warren Duff
Main Cast: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft
"LET'S SAY A PRAYER, FOR A BOY WHO COULDN'T RUN AS FAST AS I COULD"
So Netflix finally shipped "Angels with Dirty Faces" and it always turns out that the movies I'm forced to skip over, end up being so good when I finally get to see them. This was a FANTASTIC gangster film, that was more than just a gangster film and one that I really enjoyed.
Rocky Sullivan (Cagney) is a gangster who's been in and out of prison for most of his life, for various reasons, ranging from robbery to assault. The film starts out with Rocky as a young kid, hanging out with his pal Jerry Connolly. They're bumming around one day and decide to pick a lock on a freight train and steal some fountain pens from the cargo. The cops end up busting them and they take off running, Jerry makes a clean getaway, but Rocky is caught. Jerry visits Rocky in the juvenile detention center and tells Rocky that he wants to give himself up too, so they'll go a little lighter on Rocky. Rocky won't hear of it and sends Jerry away. The film flashes through to Rocky's adulthood and he's being let out of prison for the umpteenth time. When he gets out he's planning to receive a large some of money from his lawyer, Frazier, to the sum of $100,000. He goes to see Frazier and get his money, but Frazier tells him that he doesn't have it yet, but he'll have it soon. Rocky then goes to visit Jerry, who he hasn't seen in ages and who is now a catholic priest. Rocky still thinks just as much of Jerry as he did when they were kids and the two are still good friends, despite their different lifestyles.
The movie goes through a phase in the middle, where Rocky tries to help Jerry out a bit, with some of the troubled youth in town. He takes up with a group of kids, a bunch of hoodlums and takes them under his wing. Teaching them the ins and outs of being a good criminal when Jerry's not around and trying to get them involved in Jerry's recreation center program, when Jerry is around. Rocky also takes up with a girl, one that he bullied when he was younger and who, after getting even with him, forgives him. Eventually, it's made known that Frazier has no intention of paying Rocky and Rocky must resort to some of his old street tricks in order to get his dough. Jerry ultimately swindles the money out of Frazier and his new associate, Keefer (Bancroft). The story comes to a climax, with Jerry telling Rocky that he's tired of all the crime and corruption in the city and doesn't want the kids to get wrapped up in the same things Rocky did. Jerry tells Rocky that even if he has to step on him, that he's making a big run at cleaning up the city and the criminals that populate it.
RATING: 10/10 And that's not a rating that will be changing anytime soon, as this was really one of my favorite movies from the book, out of all of them.
February 23, 2010 11:52am