The Public Enemy (1931).

Annex - Harlow, Jean (Public Enemy, The)_NRFPT_01Another James Cagney film.

Another Cagney film of the gangster ilk. He was the master of the genre and Jean Harlow was certainly quite the blond bombshell in her role as Gwen Allen, Tom Power’s love interest. Its only a shame she died so tragically and so young.

This film was the first film to feature domestic violence onscreen but its over and done with in seconds – like pulling a plaster from a wound. The total disregard in which Tom treats women is also awful to see.

This film is historically important in the development of the gangster / noir genre. It also shows that the gangsters in question came from good, supportive families but they were just bad people. All the major violence is shown offscreen but it yet doesn’t diminish the violence and horror of the scenario. Its quite a short film (round about 90 minutes) but its still rather good and the ending is very powerful. I thought about it for a long time when the film had finished.

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

 

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