Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 29, 2014

JOHNNY COME LATELY (1943)

James Cagney’s second attempt at indie production was better prepared than his first, but equally stillborn. He’d put out two films during a contract dispute with Warners in the mid-‘30s, but they were done on the cheap, and looked it. This time out, Cagney was coming off YANKEE DOODLE DANDY/’42 and was more careful with his behind-the-camera talent: John Van Druten on script; Theodor Sparkuhl to lens; Leigh Harline for the score. Helmer William K. Howard may have fallen off the A-list while falling off the wagon, but he had considerable style to offer (THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE/’34; TRANSATLANTIC/’31). And still, JOHNNY is doomed from its start. Everyone we meet in this sleepy Currier & Ives town is too cute for words, including the tramps who waste the opening reel laboriously setting the scene. There’s no energy supply (in a Cagney film!) as Jimmy meets-cute with senior stage doyen Grace George as the sharp-eyed bitty who runs the local paper. Oh, she’s a darlin’, too, but local business & political corruption has just about put her out of business till Cagney takes charge and turns everything around, shaming a few leading, but recalcitrant citizens into doing the right thing. Then taking off like Mary Poppins when the wind changes. It’s an unlikely, frustrating pic, not at all bad in places, and happily waking up halfway in when Cagney throws a chair thru a window. Worth watching just to see the great Hattie McDaniel taking over all her scenes and for Marjorie Main making like Mae West. But it certainly is in love with own do-goodness.

DOUBLE-BILL: Cagney memorably tackled a similar period pic @ Warners with Raoul Walsh, Olivia de Havilland & Rita Hayworth in THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE/’41.

No comments: