Lady Killer

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

One of those early madcap comedies that is acted and directed at a whirlwind pace, LADY KILLER is spritely with snappy dialog and James Cagney's irrepressible personality. It's also a grand spoof of Hollywood. The film begins, ironically enough, in New York's Strand Theater, where Cagney is an usher. When he's fired, Cagney turns to crime with Douglas Dumbrille,...read more

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One of those early madcap comedies that is acted and directed at a whirlwind pace, LADY KILLER is spritely with snappy dialog and James Cagney's irrepressible personality. It's also a grand spoof of Hollywood. The film begins, ironically enough, in New York's Strand Theater, where Cagney

is an usher. When he's fired, Cagney turns to crime with Douglas Dumbrille, Russell Hopton, Leslie Fenton, Raymond Hatton, and blond moll Mae Clarke. They practice a "come-on" badger game in which Clarke entices some married sucker into a compromising position so that he'll pay off rather than be

exposed. Cagney finds the work repulsive and quits when a gang member is killed. He heads to California and hides out in Hollywood from the New York police. He thinks he's been spotted at his hotel by the police, but it turns out that a director, William Davidson, has followed him, typecasting him

for a prison movie Davidson is making. Cagney takes the part and later graduates to bigger roles and stardom. Meanwhile, he courts the genteel Margaret Lindsay, with whom he appears in an historical drama. Dumbrille and gang then show up and try to involve Cagney in another scheme, robbing the

homes of movie stars, but Cagney resists them and later causes their roundup. It's all fast and furious fun with Cagney bantering his way through the film with exceptional direction and a smart script. Cagney is again united with Clarke of PUBLIC ENEMY fame, but here he refrains from smashing a

grapefruit into her face; he merely yanks her out of bed by her hair and hurls her down a corridor, the most violent act Cagney ever visited upon a female in any movie, yet it's played for laughs and gets them. This romp through movieland was one of five films the busy Cagney made for Warner in

1933 (PICTURE SNATCHER; HARD TO HANDLE; THE MAYOR OF HELL; and FOOTLIGHT PARADE, the latter being one of his longtime favorites).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: One of those early madcap comedies that is acted and directed at a whirlwind pace, LADY KILLER is spritely with snappy dialog and James Cagney's irrepressible personality. It's also a grand spoof of Hollywood. The film begins, ironically enough, in New Yor… (more)

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