A movie filled with cult scenes that are part of Movie History : the grapefruit dame, James Cagney as the Son of the Mummy in the last scene, Mike Powers's legs in the last shot to name a few ones. I also love the opening sequence, Joan Blondell and Jean Harlow, the death of both the Horse and the Pianist. Masterpiece.
Let me be my own oracle. Every fit of anger and every crime is directed at himself. Wellman punctures the family life with the failed discipline of a child and in the opening the public rushes to work later the public rushes for booze its full expression is in its retelling the story of Tom is inconsequential he is the enemy his life informs you and as long as we know how the story will end he's along for the ride.
Lots of gangster Pre-Code film are alike, but some are carried by protagonists with character. I like James Cagney as goofy and downright -which I why I love him in "The Picture Snatcher" for example- not as the big shot he's here. Furthermore, this film is a nice historical depiction of the Prohibition and has a very funny ending, but it's just a bit too plain and there's too much insignificant stuff going on.
James Cagney ya es un icono del cine ganster. Sus gestos y su postura prepotente lo encabezan como uno de los villanos más malos. Claro que al final la cosa cambia, pero igual recibe lo que tiene que recibir. "The public enemy" es una película muy violenta, se escapa de ciertas escenas crudas, pero hay otras que son impactantes. Tal es la escena final. A notar: una de las grandes influencias de Martin Scorsese
The vignettes of Powers as a kid underscore the whole film. Tom really never grows up, he's always a child who is a product of his environment just trying to keep up. Consider him recieving his first gun for Xmas, or how he's sexually intimidated by Harlow (who's made up to look a bit scary). Most of all consider how the rival gangsters are never seen, just going to show how lost little Tommy really is. Must see.