|Directed by||Roy Del Ruth|
|Distributed by||Warner Brothers|
|Release dates||23 January 1932|
|Running time||69 minutes|
When a veteran cab driver, Pop Riley (Guy Kibbee), refuses to be pressured into surrendering his prime soliciting location outside a cafe, wherein his daughter works, the old man's cab is intentionally wrecked by a ruthless mob seeking to dominate the cab industry. Upon learning of the "accidental" destruction of his cab (and along with it his livelihood), the old man retrieves his handgun and shoots the bullying man known to be responsible, which lands him in prison, where he dies of poor health in fairly short order.
Pop's waitressing daughter, Sue (Loretta Young), is asked by a scrappy young cab driver, Matt (James Cagney), to lend moral support to a resistance movement populated by other drivers, who are also experiencing similar strong-arm tactics by the same aggressive group of thugs. However, after enduring the crushing loss of her father, Sue undergoes a complete ethical reversal about the notion of fighting back, feels thoroughly sickened by the violence and bloodshed, and she angrily tells the drivers as much.
Her unpredictably willful but passionate rant instantly lands her on Matt's bad side, although he eventually has a redemptive change of heart, then seeks to charm Sue into becoming his girlfriend. Other complications arise shortly thereafter, putting their loving relationship in jeopardy, which all too often tends to involve Matt's inability to control his own quick and fiery temper.
About the film
The film includes two famous Cagney dialogues, one of which features Cagney conducting a conversation with a passenger in Yiddish, and the other when Cagney is speaking to his brother's killer through a locked closet, "Come out and take it, you dirty yellow-bellied rat, or I'll give it to you through the door!." The provenance of this sequence led to Cagney being famously misquoted as saying, "You dirty rat, you killed my brother."
Cast (in credits order)
- James Cagney as Matt Nolan
- Loretta Young as Sue Riley Nolan
- George E. Stone as Skeets
- Guy Kibbee as Pop Riley
- Leila Bennett as Ruby
- Dorothy Burgess as Marie Costa
- David Landau as Buck Gerard
- Ray Cooke as Danny Nolan
- Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 20