City for Conquest

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City for Conquest
City for Conquest poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anatole Litvak
Jean Negulesco (uncredited)
Produced by William Cagney
Anatole Litvak
Hal B. Wallis (uncredited)
Written by Aben Kandel (novel)
John Wexley (screenplay)
Starring James Cagney
Ann Sheridan
Arthur Kennedy
Frank Craven
Anthony Quinn
Elia Kazan
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Sol Polito
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • September 21, 1940 (1940-09-21)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

City for Conquest is a 1940 American drama film directed by Anatole Litvak and starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, and Arthur Kennedy.[1][2] The picture is based on the novel of the same name by Aben Kandel. The supporting cast features Anthony Quinn, Elia Kazan, Donald Crisp, Frank McHugh, Frank Craven and Lee Patrick.


Cagney plays a truck driver named Danny Kenny, who starts as a New York boxing contender. Ann Sheridan plays his girlfriend, Peggy. Being successful as a boxer, Danny decides to financially help his brother Eddie (Arthur Kennedy) to become a professional musician. Peggy on the other hand, loses her heart to Murray Burns (Anthony Quinn), a professional dancer, and she turns down Danny's proposal in order to go for a dancing career. Embittered by Peggy's refusal, Danny continues to work as a boxer and eventually gets blinded by his opponent during a fight, who has placed some rosin dust onto his gloves. Now blind, Danny works as a newspaper stand operator, while Peggy's career as a dancer did not materialize. The movie ends with Eddie becoming a successful composer who dedicates his first major symphony at Carnegie Hall to his brother, who is listening to the concert on the radio from his newsstand.



George Raft was meant to appear opposite Cagney but was unable due to scheduling reasons.[3]

The tramp who "hosts" the film is played by Frank Craven as a sort of parody of his role as The Stage Manager in Our Town, which he had filmed just prior to this picture.


City for Conquest was released to DVD by Warner Home Video on July 18, 2006 as a Region 1 fullscreen DVD and also on October 12, 2010 as a part of the 'TCM Greatest Gangster Films Collection: James Cagney' with City for Conquest on the first disc of a four-disc set.


  1. ^ Variety film review; September 11, 1940, page 14.
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; September 28, 1940, page 154.
  3. ^ Timely 'I Wanted Wings' Set for Early Shooting: Retrenchment Urge On Quinn Tested for 'City' Dual Ouspenskaya Duty Bancroft in 'Daltons' 'Deerslayer' Hastened Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 27 May 1940: A10.

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