This is part of the Hollywood Babylon: Early Talkies before the Censor of pre-Code films at the BFI. The pre-Code movies included in the blog are recommended by the London Film Festival programmer Clyde Jeavons. This also screens on May 11th. Details here.
BFI introduction: Roy Del Ruth’s film is rough, ready and very fast; much like the New York streets in which it’s set, and its young lead, James Cagney. Cagney, white hot after the success of The Public Enemy, plays a cabbie with a hair-trigger temper who’s caught in a turf war with a rival company, and who hooks up with Sue (Loretta Young), whose father was killed by the same rivals. Like many pre-Code films, this captures the diverse accents and ethnicities of US cities in a way that later films often lost, with Cagney himself speaking Yiddish in an early.
Here (and above) is an extract.