A delightful example of 1930's comedy, with James Cagney on fire as a tough and uncultured geneologist-scam artist who matches wits with an assortment of shady types in pursuit of a dead rich woman's fortune.
The dialogue is snappy and frequently laugh-out loud, the supporting cast led by Bette Davis is fine, and James Cagney is particularly hilarious in his portrayal.
One of the subplots involves Cagney's attempts to learn a little class with which to impress his love/nemesis Davis, and there is a sustained scene of hijinks concerning this that will have you laughing and commending Cagney's acting at the same time. All I can say is that I will never look at tea the same way again!
Finally, this movie is worth seeing just because it was directed by the great Michael Curtiz. This was the first time Curtiz was entrusted with a really major film project, and he makes the most of it. Of course, Curtiz would later direct Cagney in arguably his greatest role, that of Rocky in Angels With Dirty Faces (1938). Curtiz also directed such classics as Casablanca (1942), Captain Blood (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Sea Wolf (1941), The Sea Hawk (1940), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942 - which won James Cagney an Oscar) and many many other great films.
Between Curtiz, Cagney, Davis, and the rest, there is a lot to like about this movie. It's not Heavy Drama, but if you like the kinds of witty and lighthearted comedies that flourished in Hollywood during the 1930's, you will enjoy this example.
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