The Doorway to Hell (1930)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama

The Doorway to Hell (1930) Poster

Despite his efforts to go straight, a young gangster keeps falling back into crime.




  • Lew Ayres and Dorothy Mathews in The Doorway to Hell (1930)
  • James Cagney and Lew Ayres in The Doorway to Hell (1930)
  • Lew Ayres in The Doorway to Hell (1930)
  • Lew Ayres and Dorothy Mathews in The Doorway to Hell (1930)
  • Lew Ayres in The Doorway to Hell (1930)
  • Lew Ayres and Robert Elliott in The Doorway to Hell (1930)

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25 February 2008 | Michael_Elliott
If Only Cagney Were in the Lead
Doorway to Hell, The (1930)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Early gangster picture from Warner tells the rise and fall of Louie Ricarno (Lew Ayres) who started up a beer racket before retiring yet he gets back in after his youngest brother is killed by rival gangs. This film suffers from some technical issues like many films from this era in terms of sound recording but overall it's a pretty entertaining little film, although it's been forgotten today due to Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, which were released the following year. There's plenty of action and tough talk but Ayres is really the wrong guy for the lead. For starters, he looks like a kid so he never comes off too threatening and whenever he pushes the other gangster around it just makes them look like wimps. Ayres also comes off laughable during the scenes where he's trying to show outrage and anger. James Cagney steals the film as Ayres' sidekick and he's his typical, high energy self. Dwight Frye also has a small role here, which was the first of his career.

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