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Sunday, September 5, 2010


This was the last, and certainly the oddest of the four films James Cagney made with Raoul Walsh. It’s a Southern Fried political melodrama (think Robert Penn Warren’s ALL THE KING’S MEN on acid) with Jimmy in Huey Long mode as a traveling salesman in bayou country. He becomes a populist hero when he takes on the local cotton cartel, but his easily stoked political ambitions & personal failings quickly drag him down. The film never gets past its soundstage sets or the faux gumbo-friendly accents (Cagney’s is a doozy, though he’s typically entertaining and works nicely with leading lady Barbara Hale) and the short running time causes it to lurch from one explosive situation to another.

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