In 1919, in the end of the World War I, the G.I. Eddie Bartlett meets George Hally and the student of Law School Lloyd Hart in a trench and sooner the war ends. Back in USA, Eddie is not able to find a job and is sustained by his great friend Danny Green, who offers Eddie to share his cab and make some money working as cab driver. Eddie decides to visit Jean Sherman, who had corresponded with him during the war and is crazy about him, and for his surprise, she is a teenager. In 1920, with the 18th Amendment, the Volstead Act is in force, beginning the period of the unpopular Prohibition. Eddie accidentally meets the owner of a speakeasy Panama Smith, they become close friends and she introduces him in bootlegging of liquor. Eddie becomes rich, meets Jean Sherman again and falls for her. He also raises a profitable partnership with George and Lloyd is hired as his lawyer. In 1924, bootlegging has a grown from individual effort to a big business associated with corruption, violence and murder, and the light machine gun Tommy becomes an important tool in this business. Lloyd and Jean fall in love for each other, and Eddie has a great deception. Later, on 19 October 1929 with the Black Tuesday, Eddie looses all his fortune, and when the Prohibition falls after thirteen years in force, he returns to the activity of cab driver. On the Christmas Eve, when he meets Jean again as a client of his cab, his life is leaded to a tragic end.
Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.
This is an excellent film about three World War I Army buddies whose lives change dramatically when they return from the war and get involved in crime, to varying degrees.
Eddie (James Cagney) initially works as a cab driver sharing his old friend's (Frank McHugh) taxi. But, through a speakeasy owner, a woman named Panama (Gladys George), Eddie gets involved in the illegal alcohol business (e.g. during Prohibition). Initially, George (Humphrey Bogart), another of the soldiers, is his "first lieutenant" in the criminal enterprise, but later he becomes a rival racketeer. The third former soldier, Lloyd (Jeffrey Lynn), becomes a lawyer who, through Eddie, helps Panama beat a rap.
Priscilla Lane plays Jean, a young girl Eddie corresponded with during the war when, unbeknownst to him, she was still in high school. Later, when Eddie's become "successful", he funds her singing debut, held in Panama's establishment. Though Eddie wants Jean for himself, she has eyes for "honest" Lloyd ... much like Panama has eyes for Eddie.
These intrigues as well as the conflicts between Eddie and George make for an exciting picture which ends unforgettably!
Directed by Raoul Walsh, this Mark Hellinger story was adapted by Jerry Wald, Richard Macauley, and Robert Rossen. The movie was great because it depicted a time in the U.S. extremely accurately, and gave it plenty of heart. The actors and actresses did their parts very well, and the tough guys acted tough. Of particular interest to me was Gladys George, who radiated a sympathetic beauty, that no one could pass up. She deserved more parts in the movies. The story line was exciting and well mounted. James Cagney and Humphry Bogart, as usual, gave it their very best. It is a must-see movie that all Americans should experience, though it came out over sixty years ago. The Roaring Twenties will remain a classic of gangland adventure and romance as well. Rent or buy it at your earliest convenience. 497e39180f
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