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JAMES CAGNEY HIDES OUT IN 'HE WAS HER MAN' W/ JOAN BLONDELL

Lobby Card for HE WAS HER MAN Year: 1934
James Cagney dime-novel-style programmer has his character Flicker Hayes, newly released from prison, dangerously double-crossing the hoods who'd double-crossed him as two more goons plan to keep on his trail...

Beginning in San Fransisco where he meets Joan Blondell, as a prostitute setting her mind on marrying a simple fisherman in a John Steinbeck Monterrey style seaside town. She has a seemingly benign passenger in Cagney's Hayes, both hiding out in completely different ways. Cagney's surprisingly soft-spoken here, but not nearly as much as dutiful Victor Jory as the fisherman who doesn't care about Blondell's racy past. This is merely a distraction to Cagney's story that, in itself, distracts from what the movie, HE WAS HER MAN, is leading to — with armed goons on the way, it doesn't look likely he'll survive...

Lobby Card for HE WAS HER MAN Rating: ***1/2
Veteran (even at that time) character-actor Frank Craven fits nicely into the mellow pre-Noir — in one of Cagney's more artistic ventures at the end of the decade, CITY FOR CONQUEST, he played a happy-go-lucky bum who provides the roman chorus narration — here he's a con man "rat" with a trick up his sleeve, ultimately at Cagney's expense: our previously selfish crook is headed toward a crossroad since Blondell loves him madly.

The fishing village connected to the passage seaward is like a dream milieu to the first early Cagney programmer that's more of a crime-related fable than his usual crook and/or con artist heist thriller. What it lacks in edgy excitement or the usual hyperactive, spontaneous, sarcastic humor is made up for within the creative storyline in this page-turning melodrama with a more poetic than satisfying, Noir-esque conclusion.
James Cagney in the opening credits of HE WAS HER MAN
Joan Blondell in the opening credits of HE WAS HER MAN
James Cagney and Joan Blondell in HE WAS HER MAN
James Cagney as Flicker Hayes in HE WAS HER MAN
James Cagney and Victor Jory in HE WAS HER MAN
James Cagney and Sarah Padden in HE WAS HER MAN
James Cagney and Joan Blondell in HE WAS HER MAN
James Cagney and Joan Blondell in HE WAS HER MAN
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