Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Picture Snatcher (1933)

I recently just watched the 1933 James Cagney movie, Picture Snatcher, and it was both fun and dramatic. James Cagney was great as Danny Kean, the jailbird turned tabloid reporter who falls in love with a college student. You enjoy every line he says. Of course, I thought the love story interfered with James Cagney, or maybe that's the jealousy talking because the actress was younger than me (she was younger than me when she made this movie). Ralph Bellamy was great as the hard-drinking newspaper editor. (Note: he was another good friend of James Cagney. I saw him in another newspaper-related [more famous] movie, His Girl Friday, with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.)

The scene where James Cagney sneaks his camera into the electric chair ceremony at Sing-Sing where they were frying a murderess (did I spell that right?) was inspired by a real-life event; a reporter for the New York Daily News snuck his camera into a Sing-Sing frying ceremony the same way James Cagney does in this film—hiding it in his pant leg at the ankle—and probably caused a scandal with the picture (the person who was being friend in the electric chair during that event was also a murdress). I really loved the scene where James Cagney is so bored while hiding out in Ralph Bellamy's girlfriend's apartment while hiding out from the police because of the scandalous photography; it was like something out of my imagination story, only the character would be Bart Simpson! (In a scene preceding this scene, James Cagney gave the newspaper people his account of the frying event in his usual fast-talking way, which I found annoying.)

I also like the scene where James Cagney gives the college journalist students a tour of the newspaper office and makes fun of the nerdy journalist student; it was something I could relate to because I'm a college student. (But again, those hands ! They drive me crazy!) I also found it clever that when James Cagney tries to woo the female college student, he has the typist write messages asking the college student out on the typewriter and using the hot metal thingies as stamps. I also enjoyed the slugfest scenes but was distressed to find out that while filming the slugfest (which is later in the movie) between him and James Cagney, Ralph Bellamy sent the latter flying across the set, causing the poor guy to break a tooth. I also found it funny that James Cagney would hide in the ladies' bathroom from the firefighter whom he stole the picture that made him top dog of the newspaper from.
This film has so many Pre-Code scenes, including the one where Bellamy's girlfriend throws herself onto James Cagney and he tries to wrestle her off of himself. Talk about having a good time and bad intercourse! (They weren't really having intercourse! Sorry if the inappropriateness offends you folks!) I didn't really watch the shootout scene near the end of the film because it was too dramatic. This movie was filmed in 15 days and runs at a breakneck speed which keeps in tone with the story. Fortunately, this obscure James Cagney movie is on DVD, which is what they should be doing with the rest of his obscure movies! I recommend this movie for James Cagney fans who love watching him in comedy/drama movies. Once again, you guys can comment on this movies with your own opinions but you don't have to.

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