The Public Enemy (1931)

Regular $15/ $11 Matinee
Member $11/ $6 Matinee

Genre

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Release Year

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Director

William A. Wellman

Cast

James Cagney, Jean Harlow

Country

USA

Runtime

83 min

Accessibility

Limited Mobility Access

January 22 Only!

James Cagney created his career-defining role in William Wellman’s 1931 landmark gangster movie, THE PUBLIC ENEMY, also starring Jean Harlow, Mae Clarke, and Joan Blondell. The film, which was nominated for an Academy Award® for “Best Screenplay,” traces the rise and fall of prohibition-era mobster Tom Powers (Cagney). From his childhood corrupted by the beer hall, pool parlor, and false friends, to his adulthood as a henchman of ruthless but innately decent bootlegger Paddy Ryan (Robert O’Connor), Tom rises to the top of the heap, with all the accoutrements of success: custom-tailored tuxedoes, fancy cars, and gorgeous girls. But fate soon takes Tom down another path. Tommy’s degeneration from brash kid to vicious low-life is brought home in the now-legendary scene in which he smashes a grapefruit in the face of his latest mistress (Mae Clarke).

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