Tag Archives: Ann Sheridan

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938, Michael Curtiz)

Angels with Dirty Faces runs less than ninety minutes, but doesn’t really fill them. The first fifteen minutes of the film are flashbacks, tracking James Cagney’s character from troubled boyhood to juvenile detention to prison. Once the present action starts, Cagney immediately reunites with Pat O’Brien’s now priest, former similarly troubled youth. But Angels doesn’t have a story for O’Brien separate from Cagney and it doesn’t have much of a story for Cagney separate from the Dead End Kids.

For much of the film, Angels uses the Dead End Kids in a reduced capacity, or at least it immediately qualifies the scenes they get to themselves, tying it into Cagney’s recently released gangster storyline. The film’s last act, however, almost entirely removes Cagney and O’Brien. It does remove them separate from the Dead End Kids’s storyline; poor Ann Sheridan, as Cagney’s unlikely love interest, does entirely disappear for the third act.

So while they never have quite enough story to make a full film, even a ninety minute one, screenwriters John Wexley and Warren Duff certainly seem like they should have enough material for one. But since the Dead End Kids are all caricatures, maybe it’s just not possible. Cagney, O’Brien and Sheridan only get slightly better scenes–they’re just better actors. Director Curtiz expects more from them and gets it.

Curtiz directs some great sequences, like the lengthy, thrilling final shootout sequence or anything with Sheridan and Cagney.

Cagney’s fantastic performance almost carries Angels; the structure’s just too wobbly.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Michael Curtiz; screenplay by John Wexley and Warren Duff, based on a story by Rowland Brown; director of photography, Sol Polito; edited by Owen Marks; music by Max Steiner; released by Warner Bros.

Starring James Cagney (Rocky Sullivan), Pat O’Brien (Jerry Connolly), Humphrey Bogart (James Frazier), Ann Sheridan (Laury Ferguson), George Bancroft (Mac Keefer), Billy Halop (Soapy), Bobby Jordan (Swing), Leo Gorcey (Bim), Gabriel Dell (Pasty), Huntz Hall (Crab) and Bernard Punsly (Hunky).


THIS POST IS PART OF THE LUCK OF THE IRISH BLOG O’THON HOSTED BY THE METZINGER SISTERS OF SILVER SCENES


Hollywood Extra Girl (1935, Herbert Moulton)

At the surface, Hollywood Extra Girl is just a promotional tie-in to Cecil B. DeMille’s The Crusades. The short’s lead, Suzanne Emery, was an extra in The Crusades and the short suggests she might make it in Hollywood just because of that inclusion.

According to IMDb, she did not.

But the short also serves to let DeMille—who has the most dialogue in the short’s eleven minutes (mostly read from cue card)—foist his ego about. His acting’s hideous, which puts that whole idea of directors making good actors into severe doubt.

The film ends not on DeMille, however, but as an advertisement for young women to come out to Hollywood and try being a star. If they fail, they can always go back home. This ending suggestion is awkward after the film showed the misery of longtime extras.

Moulton’s got some nice camera moves, but it’s DeMille’s show.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Herbert Moulton; screenplay by Herman Hoffman, based on a story by John Flory; director of photography, Harry Fischbeck; produced by William H. Pine; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Cecil B. DeMille (Himself), Ann Sheridan (Genevieve), Suzanne Emery (Herself) and Clara Kimball Young (Grace).