Picture Snatcher

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A routine crime melodrama that is spruced up by Cagney's electric portrayal of a gangster-turned-newspaper-photographer. Upon his release from Sing Sing, he hooks up with a sleazy New York City tabloid and uses his criminal know-how to get a scoop. Before long he's fallen in love with Ellis, whose father, O'Connor, is the police lieutenant who sent Cagney...read more

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A routine crime melodrama that is spruced up by Cagney's electric portrayal of a gangster-turned-newspaper-photographer. Upon his release from Sing Sing, he hooks up with a sleazy New York City tabloid and uses his criminal know-how to get a scoop. Before long he's fallen in love with

Ellis, whose father, O'Connor, is the police lieutenant who sent Cagney to prison. Cagney quickly becomes hot property as a cameraman, securing a photo of a frenzied fireman standing in front of his burning house while his wife and her lover lie dead inside. Because of the unscrupulous nature of

his job, Cagney is accused by Ellis of being a "picture snatcher"--no better than the criminal he used to be. To win her and her father over, Cagney gets a story printed about O'Connor, resulting in a promotion for the policeman. A grateful O'Connor changes his opinion of Cagney and gives him the

okay to romance Ellis. Cagney is up to his old tricks, however, when he learns of the execution of a famed murderess. He sneaks into the prison with a camera hidden under his pant leg. Just as the current throws her body back, Cagney snaps the shot. With the picture plastered across the front page

of the tabloid, the issue is a sellout (this trick actually happened on January 12, 1928, when an enterprising New York Daily News photographer caught the death of Ruth Snyder on film). O'Connor, as the man in charge of security, is demoted when the picture hits the streets. Cagney later finds his

way back into good graces when he gets a picture of a famed killer in the act. A fast-paced programmer, PICTURE SNATCHER gave Cagney a chance to harden his already tough image even more--this time by throwing a punch at White--in a wonderfully fresh role as a moll in love with the "picture

snatcher." Having carefully rehearsed the punch with White, it came time to actually try it. All White had to do was remain still. Undoubtedly a bit nervous, White mistakenly leaned forward and caught a punch on the chin. As Cagney described it: "There was poor little Alice down there on the

floor, crying her heart out. I was mighty sorry to hit that cute little kisser." In a later scene, however, Cagney was on the receiving end. Bellamy, who played the city editor, was to deliver a punch to Cagney's chin. Bellamy, who had never thrown a punch in his life (and subsequently promised

never to try again), was dreading the scene, fearing that he would actually connect. After some coaching from Cagney, Bellamy cocked his arm and let his fist fly. Unfortunately for Cagney, Bellamy misjudged his reach and struck him squarely on the jaw. Cagney ended up on the other side of the

room, breaking a chair on impact and chipping his tooth. Luckily Cagney was a good sport and a strong friendship between him and Bellamy soon developed.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A routine crime melodrama that is spruced up by Cagney's electric portrayal of a gangster-turned-newspaper-photographer. Upon his release from Sing Sing, he hooks up with a sleazy New York City tabloid and uses his criminal know-how to get a scoop. Before… (more)

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