It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ...
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Manhattan gangster John "Czar" Martin enters the trucking business in an effort to control the produce market. When he catches popular trucker Danny Jordan robbing the gang's office to ... See full summary »
It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval for arrests - that doesn't stop fresh Law School grad Eddie Buchanan from joining up, and he encourages his former roommate James "Brick" Davis (James Cagney) to do so as well. But Davis wants to be an honest lawyer, not a shyster, despite his ties to mobster boss McKay, and he's intent on doing so, until Buchanan is gunned down trying to arrest career criminal Danny Leggett. Davis soon joins the "G-Men" as they hunt down Leggett (soon-to-be Public Enemy Number One) and his cronies Collins and Durfee, who are engaged in a crime and murder spree from New York to the midwest.Written by
Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Initially, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and U.S. Attorney General Homer S. Cummings disapproved of the film. Their primary reason was that it portrayed an FBI agent as insubordinate (Davis being a smart ass to McCord) and acting on his own (Davis leaving the hospital to find Collins). However, when the movie became a success, Hoover and Cummings realized that the film could be used to promote the image of the FBI and they changed their minds and began openly endorsing it. See more »
During the shoot out in the garage, there seem to be 8 shots fired at Brick but 12 bullet holes in the wall behind him. See more »
For the movie's 1949 re-release, a new scene was shot and stuck on at the beginning of the movie. That scene is still in the pic every time it's shown on TV, it's on the home video release, etc. In this added-14-years-later pre- credits sequence, David Brian plays The Chief and Douglas Kennedy (I) plays An Agent. See more »
In 1935 people paid to watch the physical, strutting, smart-mouthed James Cagney, and even in this film about FBI agents in the production code era of the 1930's Cagney gives them that. This time, though, Cagney is one of the guys trying to apprehend gangsters like Tom Powers of "The Public Enemy", rather than playing one.
Cagney is Brick Davis, a guy who came up from the slums of New York, a man whose personal benefactor is in the rackets himself, but he never wanted anything for or from Brick other than for him to make good. The opening scene shows Cagney giving a legal summation - something about a poor man fighting the big corporations. As the camera pans back we see that there is no jury, and in fact Brick is getting nowhere with his law practice.
An old friend, now a G-Man himself, visits Brick and suggests he join the FBI. After that old friend is shot in the line of duty by a gangster, Brick does just that. This film is pretty much a conventional, paint-by-numbers cops and robbers picture made exceptional by exceptional performers. Robert Armstrong, who comes across as more of a mug than Cagney, is supervising agent Jeff McCord who doesn't like Cagney from the start for really no good reason that I could surmise. Ann Dvorak is the "tarnished angel" - a chorus girl without a chorus who does what she has to do to survive but also wants to do the right thing and seems to harbor a bit of a thing for Cagney's character. Margaret Lindsay is Jeff's sister, a nurse no less, who doesn't like Brick either - at first. Then there are a host of bad guys the worst of which is Barton McLane in the kind of "so mean he's terrific" role at which he excelled in the 1930's and beyond.
For people who love Cagney in action with lots of shoot outs and fighting an uphill battle to get the girl of his dreams, this one fits the bill.
One thing that you may find puzzling if you watch the DVD release of this film, which is actually from a 1949 re-release, is the presence of a prologue. That prologue has Warner Brothers contract player David Brian playing an FBI instructor talking to a class of FBI men about the history of the agency and how it was before the agents could even carry guns. Apparently, the FBI offered no cooperation in the making of "G Men" in 1935, but by 1949 the agency really liked this picture and so this prologue was tacked on. Just don't get too confused about the time warp.
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