The Roaring Twenties
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Roaring Twenties, The (DVD)
Academy Award winners Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney star in thisstory of three friends who return from World War I to the United Statesin the era of jazz, speakeasies and bootleggers--The Roaring Twenties!George Hally (Bogart), Eddie Bartlett (Cagney) and Lloyd Hart (JeffeyLynn) become rich and powerful working both sides of the law in thedecade after the War. But the stock market crash and a woman, JeanSherman (Priscilla Lane), loved by both Hally and Hart, spell a violentend to their lives of crime.Based on the story "The World Moves On" by columnist Mark Hellinger.]]>
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Bartlett is a returning WWI vet who is unable to find employment anywhere after returning home. Initially content on sharing taxi duties with his roommate, he accidentally stumbles onto a bootlegging rig headed by a nightclub owner Panama Smith (Gladys Cooper). After taking a rap for her she returns the favor by introducing him into the world of bootlegging full time, thus starting Bartlett down the road to crime. He also eventually reunites and teams up with two former comrades from the war, lawyer Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn), who becomes Eddie's loyal-to-a-point legal beagle, and George Hally (Humphrey Bogart), an already established bootlegger. Bartlett's associations with these two men would eventually have sour results, on both a professional and personal front.
On the personal side, Bartlett falls head over heals in love with Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane), a young woman who had written letters to him while he was fighting in France. Unfortunately she does not return his affections despite the fact he managed to find employment for her as a singer at Panama's nightclub and falls for straight arrow Lloyd instead.
Bartlett's shaky partnership with Hally comes to a bitter end after Hally double crosses him to the very man Hally helped Bartlett screw over (how's that for irony?). However the crash of 1929 gives Hally the upper hand for a short time as Bartlett is forced to sell his business (the taxi cab 'company' he was using for a front for his bootlegging gigs) at a loss to Hally.
Now down and out, Bartlett finds himself right back where he was before he went off to fight the war. After having lost everything he turns to the booze but a personal appeal from Jean to save Lloyd (they are now married and have a son at this point) from Hally (who now wants to kill Lloyd since Lloyd is ready to prosecute Hally for his past crimes) makes him pull himself together and have one last confrontation with Hally, a confrontation to the death for both of them.
Great movie, Cagney is great as always (even though as I said, he was sick of the gangster genre by this point), but so are Bogey, Lane, Cooper and the rest of the supporting cast. If you love gangster movies, this is one that is definitely not to be missed.
THE ROARING TWENTIES, from the story "The World Moves On" by popular Broadway columnist Mark Hellinger, was `a memory' of the era Warners mined so successfully, and profitably, in the thirties. It stars Cagney as Eddie Bartlett, a more-or-less good guy who fought in World War I only to return to a country that didn't quite know what to do with all of her returning soldiers. Bartlett's two army buddies figure prominently in his eventual rise and fall - the slimy George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and golden boy Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn). Bartlett's first touch of the Big Bottom occurs early on after his return. The job he'd thought was waiting for him when he got home is filled by someone else, and soon enough he sees and grabs at the opportunities presented by Prohibition. Bartlett's ascent begins when he begins to manufacture his own bathtub gin. Along the way Barlett enlists the services of old foxhole buddies Hally (right-hand gunsel) and Hart (legal advisor). Bartlett goes into the speakeasy business with Panama Smith (Gladys George) and falls hard for pretty young Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane). Of course it's lonely at the top, and with treacherous associates like Hally and rivals like Nick Brown (Paul Kelly), precarious as well.
Cagney may have been sick of playing gangsters by 1939, but it's hard to tell that from his performance. There's just something right about everything he does with a character who has to travel, convincingly, from the gutter to the penthouse, and then back again to the gutter. It's a consummate performance, and director Raoul Walsh, best known as an action director, handles the intimate moments with delicacy and sensitivity. Barlett's forlorn love for good-girl Jean, with good-boy Lloyd lurking around in the background, is doomed from the start, and Walsh and Cagney explore it to good effect. Gladys George's Panama's miscast affections are also delicately painted. Walsh balances the quieter moments with action scenes that would have fit comfortably in the later-day gangster films of Coppola and Scorsese. In fact, the shootout in Nick Brown's diner is an obvious template for a similar scene in The Godfather.
THE ROARING TWENTIES is a masterpiece. The transfer print is in very good condition - I was so wrapped up in the story I really didn't notice any flicks or flacks. Warners has loaded this one with fun extras. There's a twenty minute feature titled "The Roaring Twenties: Time Moves On" featuring director Martin Scorsese and film experts Lincoln Hurst, Alain Silver, Mark Viera and Andrew Sarris. The theme is the end of the gangster movie cycle and Cagney's and Bogart's careers. The other special feature is Warner Night at the Movies, which opens with a trailer; a 1939 newsreel ("Worlds of Tomorrow"); a charming Lloyd French directed "All-Girl Revue" that features a young June Allyson as `mayor for a day' singing the forgettable "We've Got to Make the City Pretty"; a Grouch Club entry titled "The Great Library Misery"; and a color cartoon, "Thugs With a Dirty Mug."
This classic film depicts New York City in the twenties during prohibition and the rise of the Mafia syndicate. Walsh depicts the horrors of World War I and the illegal consumption of alcohol and speakeasies.
The DVD comes with special features like Entertainment Tonight's Leonard Maltin hosts a Warner Night at the Movies. There is a musical short, "All Girl Revue;" comedy short, "The Great Library Misery;" "Cartoon Thugs with Dirty Mugs;" and theatrical trailers. Also included is a featurette entitled " The Roaring Twenties: The World Moves On."
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“The characters are composites, the situations actually occurred” says the opening.Read more