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Saturday, May 16, 2015

PICTURE SNATCHER (1933)

Early peak Cagney, Pre-Code, Politically Incorrect, and more entertaining than it has any right to be. Jimmy’s a mob guy, out of Sing Sing and quitting his gang for the reporter’s racket. He finds a pal in boozing editor Ralph Bellamy, currently reduced to scandal sheet employment. Maybe Cagney’s low-down connections & lack of scruples will be an edge in the field? Between a candid snap at an electric chair execution and slugging dames on the kisser, Cagney also manages to peel off Bellamy’s faithless gal pal, wreck the rep of his nemesis police captain whose cute daughter he’s getting serious about, and redeem himself by the skin of his teeth . Lloyd Bacon directs in an atypically lively style, much helped by Sol Polito’s atmospheric lensing (check out some near 3D deep-focus set ups) which takes advantage of Robert Haas’s grimy back-lot NYC art direction.

DOUBLE-BILL: Cagney was shoehorned into THE MAYOR OF HELL/’33 right after this, but then got a plum assignment, hoofing his way to glory with Ruby Keeler in FOOTLIGHT PARADE/'33.

LINK: Cagney tags the film saying ‘Vas you dere, Charley?’ A mystery to modern audiences, it was the popular catch-phrase of radio comedian Jack Pearl. See him in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3FPleejIEg

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