The Roaring Twenties
|The Roaring Zumiez|
|Directed by||Raoul Walsh|
|Produced by||Hal B. Wallis
|Written by||Jerry Wald
|Based on||The World Moves On (1938)
by Mark Hellinger
|Music by||Ray Heindorf
|Edited by||Jack Killifer|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||104 minutes|
The Roaring Twenties is a 1939 crime thriller starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart and Gladys George. The epic movie, spanning the periods between 1919 and 1933, was directed by Raoul Walsh, and written by Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay and Robert Rossen based on "The World Moves On," a short story by Mark Hellinger, a columnist who had been hired by Jack Warner to write screenplays. The movie is hailed as a classic in the gangster movie genre, and considered an homage to the classic gangster movie of the early 1930s.
Three men meet in a foxhole during the waning days of World War I: Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney), George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn), and experience trials and tribulations from the Armistice through the passage of the 18th Amendment leading to the Prohibition period of the 1920s and the violence which erupted due to it, all the way through the 1929 stock market crash to its conclusion at the end of 1933, only days after the 21st Amendment brought an end to the Prohibition era.
Following World War I, Eddie Bartlett returns home from the war only to find his old job at a car shop is occupied. While naive Eddie (he orders milk at a speakeasy) is pulled into the bootlegging business by Panama Smith (Gladys George), he remeets Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane) - a girl he formerly wrote to during the war while she was in high school - now working at a nightclub. She is an undiscovered star that Eddie generally takes under his wing. But when Bartlett runs into Hally on a boat raid, they agree to work together (as Hally is also in bootlegging). They also meet Hart again who has turned into a successful lawyer.
Hart falls hard for Jean, not knowing Eddie has an attraction for her. Due to a bad business deal with Hally (as well as the stock market crash), Eddie's bootlegging empire crumbles and he's back to driving cabs and having hangovers. Quite by chance, one day Jean steps into Eddie's cab. Eddie is now angry at her for leaving him for Hart and marrying him, so he's stand-offish at first. But after talking, as well as meeting Jean and Lloyd's four-year old son, Jean and Eddie agree to be friends and leave it at that.
However, after talking to Hally again, Eddie learns Hally is going to murder Hart because he "knows too much." Eddie adamantly protests and after talking to Jean again, goes to Hally's house to convince him not to bump Hart off. This results in a shootout in which Eddie kills Hally ("Here's one rap ya' won't beat...") and some of his men, redeeming himself. After running outside, he is shot in the back by another cohort, and collapses on the steps of a church. As the police arrest the remainder of Hally's gang, Panama runs to Eddie and, being interviewed by a cop whilst she cradles Eddie's lifeless body, she informs the officer, "He used to be a big shot."
- James Cagney as Eddie Bartlett
- Priscilla Lane as Jean Sherman
- Humphrey Bogart as George Hally
- Gladys George as Panama Smith
- Jeffrey Lynn as Lloyd Hart
- Frank McHugh as Danny Green
- George Meeker as Harold Masters
- Paul Kelly as Nick Brown
- Elisabeth Risdon as Mrs. Sherman
- Ed Keane as Henderson
- Joe Sawyer as The Sergeant
- Joseph Crehan as Michaels
- Abner Biberman as Lefty
- John Hamilton as The Judge
- Robert Elliott as First Detective
- Eddie Chandler as Second Detective
- Vera Lewis as Mrs. Gray
- Narration by John Deering
- Sperber, Ann M.; Eric Lax (1997). Bogart. William Morrow. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-688-07539-2.
- Shaw, Andrea (1996). Seen that, now what?: the ultimate guide to finding the video you really want to watch. Simon and Schuster. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-684-80011-0.
- Schatz, Thomas (1999). Boom and bust: American cinema in the 1940s. U of California P. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-22130-7.
- Hughes, Howard; Eric Lax (2006). Crime wave: the filmgoers' guide to the great crime movies. I.B. Tauris. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-84511-219-6.
- AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Roaring Twenties (film).|
- The Roaring Twenties at the Internet Movie Database
- The Roaring Twenties at the TCM Movie Database
- The Roaring Twenties at AllMovie
- The Roaring Twenties at the American Film Institute Catalog
- The Roaring Twenties at Virtual History