Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Quick Film Review--The Roaring Twenties (1939)

1. A lot of people love this movie. Online reviews rave about what fun it is. On one level, it is a fun film. But there are just so many stupid things in it. I guess most people don't care about completely impossible situations, but I like my movies to be generally believable. There was just too many ridiculous parts to this movie. Cagney and Bogart are in a unit together in WWI. With them is a young lawyer. They have a sergeant who's a real jerk. Bogart swears his revenge. Cagney comes back and tries to get a decent job but can't. So he gets into bootlegging. He eventually runs into the gangster Bogart and they start working together before they become enemies. The lawyer works for Cagney for awhile. Eventually, Bogart and Cagney are stealing some liquor. They run into a security guard who is the sergeant. Bogart gets his revenge. There was just tons of crap like this. Absurdity ruins movies for me.

2. Since this movie was made in 1939 and the Hays Code was in full effect, gangsters had to look bad. Bogart is tough in this movie and even though he wasn't a big star yet, you have to like him. But at the end, when Cagney shoots Bogart, he looks pathetic. Once a gun is pulled on him, he snivels like a baby. It just doesn't work. Not only would that character not act like that, but Bogart just isn't good at those kind of emotions.

3. People in the 1930s and 1940s sure loved musical numbers in their films. I think the whole point of women in these movies was to sing. I guess Priscilla Lane can sing OK. But I really wish that wasn't in the movie. Or at least limited to 1. I think there were at least 3, maybe 4 songs. At some point, and maybe it was during the war, this kind of thing began to fade. But it wasn't fast enough.