To put it simply James Cagney is Cody Jarrett, a mama obsessed psychopath.Cagney is at his brilliant best as the leader of a gang of crooks who first rob a train and then when the heat from the Feds starts to burn sets himself up to go down for a crime commited on the same day as the train robbery.This is just a trumped up charge to act as an alibi so he can't be charged for the train job.The story revolves around a Fed agent being placed in with Cody to befriend him and to join his gang and be in on the setting up of the gangs next heist.James Cagney made this film to starve of money problems for his own production company, he also felt typecast as a villian and crook, but if anybody can show me a better gangster than Cagney i'll eat my hat.Cagney was brilliant at improvisation just adding little things to each scene to make his character more real and frightening.One of the best of these improvisation is when after a seizure(Cody is an epileptic even though the caracters never say so) Cagney is comforted by his mother and he sits on her lap!!Another is the seizure scene in prison when Cagney finds out his mother has died he rolls over tables, punches the lights out of about three guards , he based that scene on when he was younger visiting a relation in an insane asylum. One thousand words are not enough to do this film justice I haven't even mentioned the attempts on Codys life, the betrayal of his gang, the plan the Feds have to catch Cody, the dramatic realisation when Cody finds its a set-up, and that final scene which is one of the most classic scences in movie history.This is one of the top five gangster movies of all time and that includes The Usual Suspects and Resivour Dogs.Simply put if you have a few spare pound buy it!!!
10 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?