Raoul Walsh’s 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend, and the slam-band nature of his best films means that he is still remembered while the memory of Allan Dwan, a director with an equally long career, has practically faded from public consciousness. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham’s Rain renamed Sadie Thompson (1928) opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona (1928) if an errant jackrabbit hadn’t cost him his right eye by leaping through the windshield of his automobile. Warner Baxter filled the role and won an Oscar. Before John Ford and Nicholas Ray, it was Raoul Walsh who made the eye-patch almost as synonymous with a Hollywood director as Cecil B. DeMille’s jodhpurs.
He interned with the best, serving as assistant director and editor on D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece, The Clansman, better known as read more
One of the greatest gangster films ever made and a case can be made for this being Cagney's finest moment. Cagney was outstanding in other films as well - Angels With Dirty Faces and White Heat come to mind. But this movie might be as good or better than either of those, which elevates Cagney's vital role even more. Just an American classic.
The best Cagney movie, Raoul Walsh's best picture, one of the best American films of the 30s (I'd put it right after Leroy's I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang). The pacing and dialogue are flawless and it perfectly balances humor, suspense and pathos. It's also one of the few films where the narration enhances the story as opposed to muddling it. If you like gangster epics; then this is your movie.