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Taxi! Reviews

James Cagney is a tough cab driver whose livelihood is threatened by a monopolistic taxi trust that uses strong-arm tactics to run him off the good cab stands. He gains allies in other independent hacks, including Guy Kibbee, whose taxi is smashed by a truck when he refuses to knuckle under to pressure from the trust. Kibbee goes to jail when he shoots the truck driver, and not much later Cagney marries Kibbee's daughter, Loretta Young. She tries to restrain Cagney as he battles the bad guys, but when they kill his brother, Ray Cooke, nothing can hold him back. He narrowly avoids several attempts on his life, in the process getting into running gun battles. Finally, he traps the chief villain in a building and taunts him into coming out, where the police can grab him. Fast-moving and exciting, this film marked the first time Cagney ever danced on screen, in a nightclub scene where he and Young enter a Peabody contest. At Cagney's insistence George Raft, another New York hoofer come west, was given a small role; Cagney knew from their New York days that Raft was the best Peabodyer around. Another first for Cagney in this film was his comic speaking of Yiddish with a strong Irish flavor, as he rescues an old Jewish man from a cop. The film also marks a "last"--it was the last time Cagney worked with live machine gun bullets, a common practice among early directors. All the performances are good, with Cagney at his early pugnacious best and the rest of the Warner's stock company working at their usual high level. The film was fantastically successful and helped to make Cagney one of the biggest stars of the period.