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G Men

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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(Jul 18, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1931, James Cagney helped jump-start the gangster genre as The Public Enemy. In 1935, he waged on-screen war against the nation's public enemies. Outcries against movies that glorified underworld criminals put Cagney on the side of the law in "G" Men. Emphasis may have changed but elements are the same. "G" Men builds to a fury of bold escapes, siren-wailing pursuits and frenzied shootouts. "Anything worth newspaper space is worth a movie," Warner Bros. executive Lou Edelman declared. Here, a punchy hot-off-the-presses account of the pursuit and capture of John Dillinger provides the story inspiration as tough-guy Cagney gives it to 'em good in a movie that's "fast, gutsy, as simplistic and powerful as a tabloid headline" (Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide).

Amazon.com

There comes a time in the career of every gangster star when he has to go straight. Jimmy Cagney did it in "G" Men, a crisp crimefighting drama directed by William Keighley. Its hero is one more Cagney variation on the working-class guy with a smart mouth and a hard right, only this time he's a lawyer whose education was paid for by the avuncular local crimelord. Cagney's on the square, though, and after a law-school pal turned F.B.I. agent is murdered in the line of duty, he joins the Bureau. Made with the blessings of J. Edgar Hoover, the movie pays homage to several spectacular moments in Bureau legend, but it's at its grabbiest when things get personal for Cagney--say, the complications that arise from his onetime sorta-girlfriend, nightclub chanteuse Ann Dvorak, taking up with very bad dude Barton MacLane.

Film critic Manny Farber praised Keighley as "the least sentimental director of gangster careers," and he gives the numerous murders and shootouts a jolting ferocity. (Thirteen years later Keighley helmed the excellent F.B.I. case history Street With No Name.) The I-don't-like-you-and-I-don't-trust-you byplay between Cagney and his Bureau boss Robert Armstrong gets old, but there's flavorful thuggery from MacLane, Edward Pawley, Noel Madison, et al. "G" Men's style is briskly no-nonsense, yet so beautifully has the film been restored and digitally remastered, there are moments when Sol Polito's cinematography literally glows. One gripe only: The movie should have been presented as it was in 1935, without the F.B.I.-classroom intro tacked on for 1949 reissue (the sort of thing "Special Features" was made for). --Richard T. Jameson


Special Features

  • Warner Night at the Movies 1935: vintage newsreel, comedy short The Old Grey Mayor starring Bob Hope, classic cartoon Buddy the Gee Man
  • New featurette Morality and the Code: A How-to Manual for Hollywood
  • Commentary by film historian Richard Jewell
  • How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No 11: Practice Shots
  • Things You Never See on the Screen: Breakdowns of 1935 studio blooper reel
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ann Dvorak, Robert Armstrong, Barton MacLane
  • Directors: George Marshall, Jack King, Lloyd French, William Keighley
  • Writers: Darryl F. Zanuck, Herman Ruby, Seton I. Miller
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis
  • Format: Full Screen, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FI9OBS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,124 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "G Men" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott MacGillivray VINE VOICE on June 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
James Cagney stars in this brisk crime melodrama from 1935, directed with verve by William Keighley. When hoodlums dispose of Cagney's pal, Cagney becomes a government agent and goes after the mob. Fans of old movies may lose count of all the familiar faces: Lloyd Nolan, Ann Dvorak, Robert Armstrong, Barton MacLane, Noel Madison, Harold Huber, Addison Richards, and so many more fine character players. The film has unfortunately dated more than some Cagney pictures (the nightclub floor show and the crimefighting technology of 1935 have since become quaint), but for simple cops-and-robbers action with mugs, molls, gunplay, guttersnipe slang, and getaway cars, not to mention a sterling performance by Cagney, "G-Men" is hard to beat. The print is excellent, and so is the video transfer.
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By A Customer on January 28, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This is a turnabout film for Cagney, one where he changed his film image, from ruthless gangster to fearless FBI man. Harrigan is a bigshot gangster who genrously puts Cagney through law school. When Toomey, Cagney's pal, becomes an FBI man and is gunned down without a snowman's chance in hell, Cagney joins the force to seek revenge...In the force of mounting criticism of the tendency of making heros out of gansters in their melodramas, Warners pulled a clever switcheroo: by showing the same crimes but by a different angle - that of the law enforcer. After a fairly slow start, the action picks up - and never falters. Strangely enough - because he was cast against-type - begininning with this film, Cagney's career soared into a second wind: each of the films he made within a year's period grossed over 1 millon dollars at the box-office. Obviously, the public liked Cagney. I know I do. As Jean Morgan, Ann Dvorak is excellent, as usual. She was special in an off-beat kind of way. The working title of the film was THE FARRELL CASE: written by Gregory Rogers - the pseudonym of Darryl F. Zanuck (!).
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Format: VHS Tape
James Cagney stars as Brick Davis, a young lawyer who can't get his practice off the ground. He was practically raised by a wealthy racketeer, Mr. McKay (William Harrigan), who also put Davis through law school. Realizing that his legal career is going nowhere, Davis joins the FBI and begins a tough training period under the harsh instructor Jeff McCord (Robert Armstrong), who doesn't like him.

When Davis' best friend Eddie Buchanan (Regis Toomey) is murdered by gangsters, he vows to avenge his death. Meanwhile, Davis falls in love with Jeff McCord's sister Kay (Margaret Lindsay) and questions his former girlfriend Jean (Ann Dvorak, whom you might remember from 1932's classic "Scarface") to try and find out the names of the gangsters who killed his friend. Jean is married to a man with mob connections, and because she's still in love with Davis she gets the names that he needs. All that remains next is for Davis to visit the gangsters and get his revenge!

Shot in just six weeks on a budget of $450,000, "G-Men" was a huge box office success, opening to rave critical reviews and standing-room only crowds. Some of the reviews stated that it was Cagney's best film since "The Public Enemy", which had made him a major star. Though Cagney played a crime fighter, he retained the same toughness that had served him well in gangster roles. "G-Men" was directed by William Keighley, one of Warner's top directors of the 1930's, and one of Cagney's favorite co-workers. In 1949, "G-Men" was reissued to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the FBI, and a newly shot prologue was added, in which the film was called the "grand-daddy" of all FBI movies. When viewed today, one can hardly disagree.
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Format: VHS Tape
James Cagney ( Public Enemy) shows his versatility in this film. This is a classic gangster film of the '30's with Cagney on the side of the law. Barton Mclain is classic as the baddy with Robert Armstrong and Lloyd Nolan as the top notch agents. Margeret Lindsay as the love interest and Ann Dorvak as the not so bad "moll" round out the cast of characters and make for an entertaining portrayal of the early F.B.I. Of course, a lot of the cliche's, along with the Psuedo- history is part of it, but that only enhances the film. For film buffs such as myself, this is one excellent film and well worth the effort.
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Format: VHS Tape
James Cagney stars as a struggling lawyer who joins the FBI when his friend, an FBI agent, is killed while on duty. Cagney's law studies were financed by a man with mob ties, but he turns his back on that to avenge the death. He gets off on the wrong foot with his superior, Robert Armstrong, and Armstrong's sister Margaret Lindsay, but he quickly proves his courage and ability. The cocky character played by Cagney is nothing new for him, although it's good to see him on the side of the law this time around. The rest of the cast does well, with Ann Dvorak particularly fine as the wife of one of the gangsters, a former girlfriend of Cagney's. When the action gets going, the film really picks up. The Armstrong character isn't well written (or acted, for that matter), but other than that one drawback, the film is easy to watch and a real throw back to the Thirties way of presenting crime in movies - especially the great shoot-outs.
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