Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks-Gangster


Welcome to November 1st, All Saints Day or The Day of the Dead or whatever....Last night was Halloween and I had so few kids. When I moved here, I had 140 kids at least and this time, I had....11. I will chock it up to the neighbourhood growing up, crappy weather and being in the middle of the week. When I was young, my mom took us to this little village that looked right out of a horror movie for kids, and it was so much fun. There is one big difference....all the leaves are still on the trees! I used to go through the leaf pile and see only bare trees which looked spooky. Now, most of the leaves are still on the trees! It’s just so weird....anyway back to the show. This new month starts off with Gangsters, I already had talked about my favourite, White Heat, a while back and I talked about Public Enemy and even Some Like It Hot, so I went a little different. Check out Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have chosen. Here are my 3...

1. ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES-1938


How can I not choose a James Cagney film especially since I did not pick an Edward G Robinson one. This is about 2 boys growing up in a rough part of town who steal but only one gets caught and is sent to juvenile hall. This kid turns out to be James Cagney who ends up a big time gangster while his best friend becomes a priest (of course). The priest, played by Cagney’s best friend, Pat O’Brien, tries to bring him over to the good side especially since this small gang of boys, the Dead  End Kids, admire the Cagney character. This film is better than the average because of the acting and the social commentary that could stand up even today. The ending of the film shocked me and kept me thinking which is a feat unto itself:).

2. A SONG IS BORN-1948


This is a remake of the brilliant comedy, Ball of Fire, that starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck and a film I talked about before too. This is a musical that stars Danny Kaye and his oft screen partner, Virginia Mayo. She plays the moll to a gangster who is wanted by the police and the police want to question her to implicate her boyfriend, played by the notorious Steve Cochran. She sings at a swinging nightclub where the innocent Danny Kaye goes to gain research on his book about music. The moll and the gangster hatch a plan for her to stay at Kaye’s place until the coast is clear.  She does not realize that older gents live in the same place nor does she think she will fall for the babbling, innocent Kaye but she does. This is not as good as the original but I still enjoyed it and it has some brilliant musical moments from jazz greats like Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey. Kaye was exceptional with tongue twisting singing which leaves me in a wonderment at how he could do this with such ease...I know it’s not easy but he makes it look like that.

3. ANALYZE THIS-1999


Oh wow! I chose a new film....well I think it’s new and it is funny even if you are not into gangsters. Robert DeNiro plays the head of the gangsters (big surprise) who becomes crippled with anxiety to the point where he can’t function. He decides to see a shrink, Billy Crystal, who is not happy being his psychiatrist for obvious reasons, namely being shot and that he is getting married in a week. I wasn’t sure if DeNiro could handle comedy but he does it well here and he has good chemistry with Billy Crystal who plays the very nervous, but not a pushover, shrink. Other characters in the film often play gangsters in other films or on tv especially The Sopranos which is where I feel the people, who created that show, must have seen this and used that idea of a gangster having anxiety.

These are my 3...which are yours?

57 comments:

  1. Great theme this week! ☺ I've seen 1 and 3 but not 2, although I remember the original starring Barbara Stanwyck. She's a favourite of mine! The Godfather Trilogy and Scarface, both the original and Al Pacino versions, come to mind.

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    1. Yes, Stanwyck is excellent. I still have to see both versions of Scarface but inhope to see the original soon.

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  2. Hi Birgit...well one of my favourite films Angels with dirty faces....haven’t seen the other two.....so more for my list.....Halloween was wet here so no kids banging on the door.....early to bed for me xxxxxx

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    1. Glad you saw this film. Hope you're feeling better

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  3. "Angels With Dirty Faces" stayed with me for a long time. I think I was really shook up by the ending.

    "Ball of Fire" was the movie where I really fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck. I think she got even better looking as she got older. I've never seen "A Song Is Born" but Danny Kaye is always worth seeing.

    One of my favorite gangster movies is "The Crew," with Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel. They play four retired gangsters who pull one last crime to save their retirement home. It's hilarious.

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    1. I agree about that ending. I did see that movie with Burt Reynolds and it is hilarious

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  4. I had TWO trick or treaters last night. Now I'm stuck with all this candy lol.

    I haven't seen any of your picks this week.

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    1. That is small but candy is good...bad but good. Maybe you will see one in your Blindspot series

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  5. Hi, Birgit!

    I've been waiting for this post since 6 am and didn't think you were gonna show. :) Cheer up, dear friend. Wanna know how many kids came to my door last night for trick-or-treat? ZERO! None at all! This is our first year living on a busy street, one that must have been ruled too dangerous for children to walk along on Halloween night. So here I am left holding the bag - actually THREE bags - of Milky Way bars! :)

    The first thing that caught my ear when listening to the trailer for Angels With Dirty Faces was the diction of the narrator. That's what I'm talking about! Announcers don't sound like that anymore. I love tough guy Jimmy Cagney and I became very familiar with The Dead End Kids in their film shorts when they were called The Bowery Boys.

    I admired Danny Kaye and Virgina Mayo although I did not see any of their films including this one, A Song Is Born. I often watched The Danny Kaye (variety) Show on television and I best remember Virginia from her role in the epic film The Best Years of Our Lives.

    Bingo! I did see film #3 - Analyze This. I think Bob DeNiro is equally talented in dramatic and in comedic roles.

    I'm glad you got this post up and running. Enjoy the rest of your day and the weekend, dear friend BB!

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    1. YeH iwas behind and rushed. Glad you know this Cagney film and yes these kids were those boys as well and they created hell on set but Cagney set them straight. I think you might enjoy this Kaye vehicle because of the Jazz greats and is not the typical musical

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  6. We had 6 trick or treaters but then there aren't many kids in my neighborhood so it's to be expected. My niece however had dozens and dozens but her neighborhood has a planned route and safeguards in place so that's what is apparently needed nowadays.

    At first I thought we had struck on a similar theme but we just share Cagney. Angels with Dirty Faces is one of his best, as well as costarring Ann Sheridan one of my favorite actresses.

    You're right about A Song is Born not being at the same level as Ball of Fire, and yet another instance of how her studio wasted Virginia Mayo, but it's colorful fluffy fun.

    I've yet to see Analyze This just bits and pieces but I'll catch up with it eventually.

    I themed this out with one of the ultimate gangster stars-James Cagney. So I'm glad you chose one of his that I didn't, heaven knows he nearly made a cottage industry of them in his early days.

    The Public Enemy (1931)-Tom Powers (Cagney-in the role that made him a major star) is a small-time hood, vicious and consciousless who climbs to success on the back of Prohibition and his willingness to do whatever necessary-rob, maim, kill-to gain advantage. The film chronicles that rise, and fall, as well as his entanglement with two women Gwen (Jean Harlow, this was one of her earliest appearances, don’t judge her on it-she’s awful-look to her MGM comedies where she’s great) and Kitty (Mae Clarke) who famously receives a grapefruit in her kisser when she mouths off to Cagney. This William Wellman directed picture is one of the formative films in creating the gangster drama.

    The Roaring Twenties (1939)-Eddie Bartlett (Cagney), George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn) strike up a friendship in a foxhole during WWI. Once back in the States they go their separate ways but eventually circumstances bring them back together in the bootlegging business where they find enormous success until jealousies, rivalries and the stock market crash brings it all tumbling down. One of the last great gangster films of the 30’s with a fantastic cast including Priscilla Lane and a scene stealing Gladys George as the lovelorn songbird Panama Smith who delivers the film’s iconic last line.

    Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)-Amoral gangster Ralph Cotter (Cagney) breaks out of prison along with fellow prisoner Carleton (Neville Brand). When Carlton is injured Cotter murders him to speed his escape and jumps right back into crime blackmailing Carleton’s sister Holiday (Barbara Payton) into a relationship to conceal her part in aiding their jailbreak. Discovering graft Cotter pressures a couple of crooked cops (Barton MacLane and Ward Bond) and an equally corrupt lawyer (Luther Adler) into a scheme to bilk heiress Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter) out of a fortune. Things do not go as planned. This was the highpoint of leading lady Barbara Payton’s career. A beautiful if somewhat hard looking blonde at this time she was considered a rising star but after a scandal plagued and notorious career she fell as far as it’s possible to go ending up a drug addicted skid row hooker (once being mistaken for a pile of garbage after being left next to a dumpster following a beating) before her death from organ failure at 39.

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    1. Do you know i almost went all Cagney too but i would have had to pick White Heat, my fav, or Public Enemy with that shocking ending, butvi already talked about them so im glad you showcased this great star. Love public enemy as i mentioned and I almost chose The Roaring Twenties so I'm glad you did. I havent seen the last film yet. What a shame about Barbara Payton...seems there were a few who had these horrible endings

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  7. I'm not sure if I saw A Song is Born or not. Maybe I just saw the original. I've seen bits of it, I'm sure, but the whole thing...

    Good choices. I'm not big on gangsters, so I'd have a hard time with this topic.

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    1. Yes, some are brutal but thats why i chose 2 lighthearted ones which are fun to watch

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  8. I've seen Analyze This a while back, remember liking it. Analyze That never watched though, supposed to be crap.

    Had 74 kiddos here.

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    1. 74! That's alot. The first film is muxh better thn the sequel but i didnt mind it

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  9. Analyze This was hilarious IMO. Saw Angels years ago but not the other one you mentioned. Only had two trick or treaters. Not sure I will even bother next year.

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    1. How many dis you have, 10 yrs ago? Analyze This is funny

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    2. It varies from 1-20 each year. Lots of retirees here, though more young families are moving in. Someone must have had a party.

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  10. I haven't heard of any of these movies. OH my. I do love Some Like It Hot, it is one of my favorites.I guess I need to watch some films. Hugs-Erika

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    1. I love Some Like It Hot but i talked about it before. I love Joe E Brown...poor rich guy

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  11. BIRGIT, I can scarcely believe y'all haven't done Gangster movies before now. (Or are you starting to recycle categories? Maybe I'm getting senile, or having deja vu, but it seems we've been down this path before.)

    At any rate, this is not one of my wheelhouse genres, so I don't care for most of them. 'GOOD FELLAS' is probably at the top of my list. And then for "small time hoods", I'll go with 'BONNIE & CLYDE'.

    Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...
    ~ D-FensDogG

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    1. I believe it was whi h is when i spoke abput some Like It Hot. I hate Goodfellas but i do enjoy Bonnie and Clyde especially the early cameo of Gene Wilder

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  12. The Departed and American Gangster are two of my favorites. And London Boulevard! Great underrated flick with Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, David Thewlis and Ray Winstone.

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    1. I know the first 2 well and are great but unsure about the last one...I must look it up

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  13. No surprise here. I've not even HEARD of any of these films. But I love to read your analyses and wouldn't miss these for the world.

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    1. Im glad you enjoy reading my little reviews

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  14. Haha. You can't pick a 30s gangster movie without stumbling into James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson. I've heard of Dirty Faces but never seen it. Has been added to the list

    I guess a Song is born has no relation to a Star is Born? haha

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    1. Glad you will sew this film. No relation but believe its a pun on words

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  15. I live in the country, no annoying kids trick or treating for me :)

    I haven't seen any of your picks

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    1. It’s the only time I don’t mind kids otherwise they can go away:) maybe one day you will these films on your movie trek

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  16. Hello there Brigit, I'm here at last. I thought I had clicked the follow button ages ago, but I hadn't, so sorry about that. And I do see that you create beautiful cards. I only know Angels e
    With dirty faces, although it's been many years since I've seen it. If I've got it right it's a very distressing final scene. Robert de Nero, I think does comedy well, loved him in a fantastic film forget the name of it anyway he played a pirate who dressed up as a ballet dancer and was hugely camp. Glad I found your blog at last, Kate x

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    1. Thank you so much for finding me:) I love creating cards and try to post them weekly but that doesn’t work often but I try:) yes the last scene from Angels is dramatic. I don’t know that DeNiro film but must look it up now. Glad you finally found me

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  17. I love a lot of gangster films -- everything from the original Scarface to the nominal "remake" starring Al Pacino, and then some -- but I'd probably nominate Once Upon a Time in America, although I lose all respect for De Niro's character Noodles when he rapes Deborah (Elizabeth McGovern).

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    1. That’s cool that you have a lot of this genre. I have yet to see Once Upon a Time in America but will place it on my list now

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  18. I'm a fan of gangster films. I liked how the old ones could portray toughness without resorting to any profanity in the dialogue. As in most older films, violence and the tough guy image was often more inferred than actually shown. We all knew what was happening without having to get a detailed showing of it.

    Goodfellas and The Departed would rank high on my list of more modern gangster films. Also I liked the historical aspect of Gangs of New York--that film actually inspired me to do more research on that topic.

    My favorite film noir film is Kiss Me Deadly which features detective Mike Hammer up against some ruthless gangsters who've gotten hold of radioactive materials--gangsterism in a "modern age" of technology.

    Gangster films make for a great genre.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. You are so right about the modern take and Goodfellas is one film I can’t stand because of the brutality even though that is realistic but mainly I can’t stand Ray Liotta in this...every time he laughs I want someone to punch him. Cagney and Robinson could show toughness just from their stance and the way they talked. What is wild is that in the early films, including Angels, the bullets flying were real! Cagney finally balked about being shot at in a scene from Angels and refused to do the scene. When the stunt gunmen fired the bullets, it proved Cagney right because one of the bullets would have gone right through his head.

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  19. Hi Birgit - I've not seen them ... but Analyze This sounds interesting ... and lots of others have suggested other films - cheers Hilary

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    1. This film is so funny and I love Lisa Kudrow as Billy Crystal’s fiancĂ©

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  20. Analyze This is the only one seen. I just remember - these things stick with you - when DeNiro says, "Hey, that's the mouth she kisses my kids goodnight with! What are you, crazy?"

    Goodfellas is one of two movies I stayed in the movie theater - waited for 20 minutes - to watch it again. (Wall Street the other one). Casino is more watchable - MTV speed. Like the feds, "Follow the money!"

    #1 is Crime Story TV show with Dennis Farina and Ray Luca.

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    1. That line is so funny that I am laughing now just remembering how DeNiro delivers it. I can’t stand Goodfellas but I do like Casino. Crime Story is an excellent tv show

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  21. Cagney is my guy. Love Angels with Dirty Faces. Haven't seen the others.

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    1. Cagney is brilliant especially when you realize what a great dancer he was

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  22. I did see Analyze This. I love Billy Crystal. He is so funny. And DeNiro is great.
    We had one Tricker Treater.

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    1. One kid? Wow that is small. I blame that Halloween landed on a Wednesday, crappy weather and the kids have grown up in my area. Billy Crystal is very funny

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  23. Angels with Dirty Faces sounds like a good movie. Definitely outstanding actors.
    How was the craft show?

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    1. It’s a great movie. The craft show was really good and so busy. I bought some homemade soap for Christmas gifts and some towels for the kitchen....the type one buttons on a drawer...I love those. Oh and I bought fresh apple strudel for my hubby.

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  24. I wasn't familiar with it But a Song Is Born looks like fun:)

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  25. I saw "Angels with Dirty Faces" and thought you were talking about the movie in Home Alone. I was super confused, because I know in that one the art department had a ton of fun making a super-authentic 40s-style gangster movie, painstakingly recreating the sets, costumes and props even though the clip is only seen on screen for a couple of minutes.

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    1. Oh wow...hahahaaa nope the actual movie from all that time ago. I had no idea they were that detailed for that tiny part in Home Alone..cool!

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  26. I haven't seen that first one, how interesting

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  27. Did you see De Niro in Stardust? What a hoot.

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  28. I think I may have caught Analyze This on TV but can't remember anything

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  29. I haven't seen any of these. The gangster movies that first come to mind are Donny Brosco, Scarface, Godfather trilogy, and the Departed. Thanks for giving me more movies to look for. :)
    ~Jess

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