The Public Enemy Reviews
cagney's character tom is a hoodlum who's been meddling with the "wrong kind of people" since childhood with his pal matt, he's learned how to steal, intimidate and rob, generally an incorigible man who takes what he wants without hesitation. as tom's relationships with family, a spoilt younger son with mother fixation, hostile toward the paternal prestige: his father and senior sibling mike, thus he defies authority and contempts the government as he remarks on his brother's diligence on schooling "he's learning how to be poor!" and also his disapproval on patriotism which is serving your country in the war, he dismisses as getting medals for killing people, just as rotten as his success made by the brutal violence of blood, especially when mike shows tom his disdain on tom's unjust fortune by thrashing the beer cask aside...by contemporary standard, those family dramas upon postwar social condition seem dated, hardly to be resonated with empathy. but public enemy has its own relevant importance by being one of defining evidences of this decade's spirits as some historical residual with characters in simplistic archetypes.
the mere timeless element which contributes "public enemy"' as one mighty unshakable classic is james cagney's conspicuously ballistic performance as the cocky gangster who growls and curses like a machine gun, a misogynist who smashes a grapefruit to mae clark's facecheek after quibbing "i wish you were a wishing well, so i could tuck a bucket and sink it"....also delivers the famous line "i aint so tough!" after being shot down to loblolly in the rain.
jean harlow also makes her cameo as cagney's mistress after tossing away mae clarke out of abhorrence...harlow says her lines bluntly like "oh, my bashful boy...i could love you to death"...harlow is more like decorative vase as gangster's eagerness to boast his flamboyance. but harlow's wardrobe is glamous enough to nuance her screen time. one trivia is that the role tom was assigned to co-star ed woods but director demands the exchange as temporal trial, then woods' carrer became luckluster after public enemy, cagney remained ace still.
typically the public enemy is enclosed with a moralistic ending just as your parents would preach: you would end up no good being a gangster.
And so it is autumn.
[font=Century Gothic]"The Public Enemy" is a fairly good crime melodrama. The acting is okay except for James Cagney's extraordinary starmaking performance. And the finale is unforgettable.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The movie does not go so far as to condemn prohibition but it admits it made matters worse in the criminal world. Its moral is that the public cannot be naive and ignore criminal activity that is happening right under its nose.[/font]