Angels With Dirty Faces (1938).

Annex - Cagney, James (Angels With Dirty Faces)_07A wonderful gangster movie about two friends who go down different paths in life – one becomes a priest, the other becomes a gangster.

Having studied gangster films during one of my film studies modules, I’ve developed an appreciation for the genre and what it stood for. James Cagney was a master of the gangster genre and he played the role in this film well.

Pat O Brien played Father Connolly, his ally and friend. The parallel between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is very obvious and the moralizing element of the film is overbearing. The overlay of sentimentality is obvious too but the two stellar actors carry it off well. I can’t think of the two modern equivalents of O’Brien and Cagney.

A super film. The ending has certainly promoted a lot of discussion since the film’s release over 70 years ago.

MY RATING: ***.5 / *****



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