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JAMES CAGNEY 'LADY KILLER' MAE CLARKE & MARGARET LINDSAY

Title: LADY KILLER Year: 1933 Cast: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Mae Clarke Rating: ****

James Cagney plays a shifty usher at a movie theater, so his character’s already geared towards the lights, camera and especially action (and distraction from the very start. But he’s quickly derailed, conned by PUBLIC ENEMY siren Mae Clarke into a rigged card game involving Douglass Dumbrille and his gang of crooks... 

But Cagney's Dan Quigley, after catching on, instead of getting angry, or even, or both, he joins and eventually leads the group into nightclub ownership and then a bigger heist that lands them in real dough, and real trouble...

James Cagney with Margaret Lindsay in LADY KILLER

After his fair-weather friends/partners-in-crime betray him, Cagney hides out in Los Angeles and soon becomes an extra on a movie lot, and here's where the involving ridiculousness begins: seeing Cagney riding a horse in Indian get-up, with fake scenery moving behind him, is such a kitschy highlight you'll forget he's bonafide criminal on the run... 

Then, as our confident hero falls for famous (and humble) movie-star Margaret Lindsay as Lois Underwood, and soon (through con-games) becomes a top-billed movie star on his own, his once unlucky life begins to pan out but, like bad pennies or film noir hoods, those double-crossing wise guys return for piece of his action...

Mae Clarke plays the bad girl in LADY KILLER

Overall fun and busy distraction from other early Cagney crime flicks, and you have to continuously suspend disbelief to really enjoy it: especially scenes showing the fictional movies... Or one silly segment as he provides Lindsay with monkeys and a painted elephant on her birthday...

But as a confident, wise-cracking con artist beneath the polished veneer, it’s all about enjoying Cagney, even in this contrived mashup of his future genres/devices including comedy, crime and Hollywood Satire because no matter what the part, he always takes the part seriously.

James Cagney in LADY KILLER
James Cagney in LADY KILLER
James Cagney in LADY KILLER with Mae Clarke
James Cagney in LADY KILLER
Mae Clarke plays the bad girl in LADY KILLER
Mae Clarke and James Cagney returning from Public Enemy for LADY KILLER

 



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