Those who don’t recognize much about James Cagney often “remember” him for something that didn’t even say.

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He never actually uttered the expression “You dirty rat!” in the 1932 movie Taxi or in any other, however it is frequently used as a supposedly common Cagney movie quote.

There room no together doubts about Angels with Dirty Faces, and Cagney fans have the right to tell girlfriend just about every indigenous he says in the 1938 classic that cemented his superstar status.

Directed by Michael Curtiz, who also gave us Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy and other all-time classics, James Cagney wasn’t the just star the Angels through Dirty Faces.

Humphrey Bogart, pat O’Brien and also Ann Sheridan were among a cast who conjured increase a real cracker.

It come at one interesting, strange allude in Cagney’s career. Frequently keenly involved in politics, he had actually agreed come sponsor the Hollywood Anti-Nazi organization in 1936.

He hadn’t, alas, known that the organization was actually a front for the Soviet Union’s Communist International, or Comintern.

It gained him into hot water, as had actually his decision to take on the studios’ strength to demand greater salaries, also though the was currently one of Tinseltown’s best-paid names.


He to be matter-of-fact around his attitude, saying, “I walked out because I depended on the studio top to store their native on this, the or other promise, and when the promise was not kept, my only recourse was to deprive castle of my services.”

When they readily available Angels with Dirty Faces, though, he was eager.

He additionally starred v O’Brien in his other 1938 film, young Meets Girl, getting mixed reviews because that his comedy role. Warners were thus keen to gain him ago to tough-guy roles.

In Angels with Dirty Faces, he play Rocky Sullivan, a gangster simply out the jail and also trying to situate old friend Jim Frazier, play by Bogart, who owed the 100,000 dollars.

While seeking that out, he meets Jerry Connolly, an old friend who is now a priest and worried about a bunch that young pickpockets, the Dead finish Kids.

They idolise Rocky, however he gets himself right into the worst possible situation ~ a shoot-out in i beg your pardon the cops capture him.

Sentenced to death in the electric chair, his priest pal reckons the should break down and beg for his life.

This, Jerry tells him, would be simply the point to sicken the Dead End kids away indigenous a life that crime, but Rocky refuses to “turn yellow”.


When it actually is time to head for the electrical chair, that does indeed fall to pieces and also beg for his life, but it is never made clean whether that does so to aid the priest and the kids, or due to the fact that he has actually gone yellow.

In genuine life, Cagney loved this sort of ambiguity, and also he likewise seemed to have fun when being asked countless times around it, never revealing the truth!

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© Allstar / WarnerJimmy alongside George Raft in each Dawn i Die, 1939

What is not up for controversy is how well he acted – Cagney gained an Academy award for finest Actor nomination, only shedding out come Spencer Tracy in guys Town.

No, we also recall the Cagney movie much much better than guys Town.

Cagney had currently worked through live bullets in films, however for this one asked for that the an equipment gun shots be fired after he had actually filmed his parts.

It was usual to use actual bullets in the Hollywood era, and Cagney would certainly be forever glad that he made the decision.

The story walk that, when they filmed the bits with genuine bullets, one ricocheted precisely where his head would certainly have remained in the scene.

If friend think the chemistry in between Cagney and also O’Brien is special, it was that way in genuine life, too. They came to be best buddies, and remained so till O’Brien’s death in 1983, simply a few years prior to Cagney’s own death.


It’s assumed that 1938 would have been a quite miserable year for Warner Bros financially, if not for the substantial success that Angels through Dirty Faces and also The Adventures the Robin Hood.

Forty years later, a punk solitary of the exact same name, through Sham 69, proved the lasting affect of the movie, and also to numerous fans it to be James Cagney’s finest work.

Some the the biggest movies of all time have been based around mobsters, yet even among them, that stands head and also shoulders among most.

And it states a lot about the strength of Cagney in his prime the Bogart, despite a wonderfully devilish power himself, is frequently just one more name more down the credits!

In part ways, that other movie from the very same year was more unusual, if not all over near come such classic status.

A quirky comedy, boy Meets Girl observed Cagney and also O’Brien play a pair of screenwriters looking for a story they deserve to build roughly cowboy star Larry Toms.

When a pregnant waitress, Susie, shows up in the office, they decide to create it roughly a cowboy and Susie’s unborn baby, Happy.

Needless come say, Larry gets quite miffed at having actually to co-star with a baby that steals every scene, and this leads to one daft revolve of occasions after another.


The movie additionally managed to uncomfortable Errol Flynn – one step cheekily had actually a radio announcer, play by Ronald Reagan, point out a film referred to as The White Rajah, starring Flynn.

Trouble was, that was the surname of a script that Flynn himself had written however seen rejected, and the story goes the he was less than happy to see this small in-joke ~ above the large screen.

Not also Errol Flynn, however, would have terrified James Cagney.

Cagney, in fact, had nothing to fear in those days, and also his 1939 movies would soar mile ahead the the opposition, too.

Films such together Each Dawn ns Die, for instance, i beg your pardon is rated as maybe the an extremely best of any Warner Bros gangster movie, and also that is speak something as they make plenty.

This time, Cagney starred alongside the great George Raft – the just movie that experienced both males play the leader – although they did appear in a couple of films along with one or various other in a lesser role.

Cagney play Frank Ross, a reporter who is unfair thrown in jail as he do the efforts to obtain the scoop ~ above a crooked ar attorney who is running for election as state governor.

He gets set up and ends up in jail however soon makes friends with someone who absolutely should be behind bars, gangster “Hood” Stacey, play by Raft.


With no fatality penalty in their state, Stacey is behind bars on a 199-year sentence, however is soon on Ross’s side after the reporter saves him from a killing attempt in the prison.

It doesn’t finish happily for anyone but Ross, that goes through hell at the hands of the jail guards in solitary, and also it is a violent movie by the requirements of any kind of era.

But v Cagney and Raft in such fine form, it’s simple to check out why every Dawn I dice still gets such rave reviews by fans of every ages.

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© Allstar/WARNER BROSJimmy play the etc as The Oklahoma Kid, 1939

That very same year, Cagney make the second of his 3 movies v Humphrey Bogart.

The Oklahoma boy saw Cagney together the title character who witnesses Whip McCord – Bogie – and his corridor rob a stagecoach, promptly ambushing them and taking the money because that himself.

Kid hears about the gang acquisition over a town and also letting it fall into lawlessness, and also the action really hots up as soon as McCord has actually his estranged dad lynched.

Although his father had actually kicked him the end for his very own wild ways, the Kid looks for revenge, before marrying the girl, Jane, and also leaving Oklahoma and also its bitterness memories behind.

He didn’t leaving Bogie behind – they do their last film together later on that exact same year, and also it was likewise a little bit special.


The Roaring Twenties experienced the classic pairing earlier together in a gangster movie, return this unusual film covers more than just that era.

It starts through three males meeting in a an initial World battle foxhole in No male Land, and the lengthy movie takes the 3 of them through assorted historic periods to 1933. Cagney is Eddie Bartlett, that finds his garage mechanic job has been taken by someone else while that is in ~ war.

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© Allstar / Warner Bros.Jimmy alongside Humphrey Bogart in The Roaring Twenties, 1939

Bogart is George Hally, a former saloon keeper turned bootlegger, and also Jeffrey Lynn dram Lloyd Hart, who is starting his own regulation practice.

Eddie i do not care a taxi driver however is arrested ~ unwittingly delivering booze come a lady by the name of Panama Smith.

After some time in the clink, they go into company as bootleggers, too, Eddie using his fleet of cabs to move the illegal alcohol around.

During a heist, Hally spots a guy he when despised in the Army and murders him.

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Needless to say, they all autumn out with each other, and it ends with Eddie being shot in the back, dying on the steps of a church.