Written by / 1/18/2012 / No comments / , , ,

LADY KILLER

title: LADY KILLER
year: 1933
cast: James Cagney
rating: ***

James Cagney plays a smart-aleck usher at a movie theater: his character’s geared towards the lights, camera and action from the very start. But he’s quickly derailed, conned by a beautiful siren into a rigged card game – but instead of getting angry and kicking ass, he joins, and eventually leads, the group into a bigger heist that lands them in real dough, and real trouble. After his fair-weather friends betray him, Cagney hides out in Los Angeles and soon becomes an extra on a movie lot. This is where the ridiculousness begins – seeing Cagney riding a horse in Indian get-up, with fake scenery moving behind him, is a highlight. Then, as our cocky hero falls for a famous (and humble) film starlet, and soon becomes a top-billed movie star on his own, his unlucky life begins to pan out: but those double-crossing wise guys return and want a piece of his action. A fun distraction in the Cagney crime film canon, and you have to continuously suspend disbelief to really enjoy it: especially scenes showing the fictional movies – or one silly segment as he provides his girlfriend with monkeys and a painted elephant on her birthday. But as a wise cracking con artist beneath the polished veneer, it’s all about enjoying Cagney even in a silly role, because no matter what the part: he always takes it seriously.
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