29 September 2011 | Doylenf
Pugnacious Cagney manages to be likable even when his character is obnoxious...
TAXI takes the James Cagney persona to extremes in the context of showing him as a tough guy with a fist in love with a girl (Loretta Young) who abhors violence. The love you/hate you relationship between Cagney and Young is what keeps the movie interesting as the story develops, but the stupid things that Young's character does to keep her man from killing the thug who killed her brother-in-law is too incredible to swallow.
Thankfully, we have some funny and romantic moments that Cagney and Loretta Young manage to do beautifully. She looks lovely throughout and it's her sweet natured temperament that makes it hard to understand why she would be attracted to a man like Cagney in the first place. He's promising to stop his hot tempered violence in an attempt to convince her to marry him, but never manages to cool it.
Despite all the loopholes in the script and many flaws, this is a tidy little melodrama, very dated in its subject matter, with Cagney stealing the spotlight all the way through. Most annoying feature of the film is the so-called comic relief of Leila Bennett whose nasal voice and flat one-liners are supposed to invoke laughter. It doesn't work.
Worth a view to see early Cagney, but the motivations for Young's character are unbelievable.