'G' Men (1935)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


'G' Men (1935) Poster

It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »


7.2/10
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  • James Cagney in 'G' Men (1935)
  • Ann Dvorak in 'G' Men (1935)
  • Ann Dvorak in 'G' Men (1935)
  • Robert Armstrong in 'G' Men (1935)
  • James Cagney in 'G' Men (1935)
  • Ann Dvorak in 'G' Men (1935)

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5 January 2013 | AlsExGal
7
| same old Cagney - different side of the law
In 1935 people paid to watch the physical, strutting, smart-mouthed James Cagney, and even in this film about FBI agents in the production code era of the 1930's Cagney gives them that. This time, though, Cagney is one of the guys trying to apprehend gangsters like Tom Powers of "The Public Enemy", rather than playing one.

Cagney is Brick Davis, a guy who came up from the slums of New York, a man whose personal benefactor is in the rackets himself, but he never wanted anything for or from Brick other than for him to make good. The opening scene shows Cagney giving a legal summation - something about a poor man fighting the big corporations. As the camera pans back we see that there is no jury, and in fact Brick is getting nowhere with his law practice.

An old friend, now a G-Man himself, visits Brick and suggests he join the FBI. After that old friend is shot in the line of duty by a gangster, Brick does just that. This film is pretty much a conventional, paint-by-numbers cops and robbers picture made exceptional by exceptional performers. Robert Armstrong, who comes across as more of a mug than Cagney, is supervising agent Jeff McCord who doesn't like Cagney from the start for really no good reason that I could surmise. Ann Dvorak is the "tarnished angel" - a chorus girl without a chorus who does what she has to do to survive but also wants to do the right thing and seems to harbor a bit of a thing for Cagney's character. Margaret Lindsay is Jeff's sister, a nurse no less, who doesn't like Brick either - at first. Then there are a host of bad guys the worst of which is Barton McLane in the kind of "so mean he's terrific" role at which he excelled in the 1930's and beyond.

For people who love Cagney in action with lots of shoot outs and fighting an uphill battle to get the girl of his dreams, this one fits the bill.

One thing that you may find puzzling if you watch the DVD release of this film, which is actually from a 1949 re-release, is the presence of a prologue. That prologue has Warner Brothers contract player David Brian playing an FBI instructor talking to a class of FBI men about the history of the agency and how it was before the agents could even carry guns. Apparently, the FBI offered no cooperation in the making of "G Men" in 1935, but by 1949 the agency really liked this picture and so this prologue was tacked on. Just don't get too confused about the time warp.

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