One of those first rare film of the genre where the gangster is not glorified but twisted and deglamorised towards the end for bettering the future of all those kids of lost generation dreaming to be Rocky Sullivan with guns in their hands! Much before his much celebrated ‘
Michael Curtiz made a gangster film that preach social responsibility and it’s
a document to treasure for that strong reason. Two close pals and adolescent
small time thieves grow up to be on opposite direction. Rocky becomes a
notorious gangster and Jerry becomes a priest. A bunch of local teenagers starts idolizing Rocky and that’s slowly becoming an obstacle for the didactic father’s
mission to reform them. The father demands something next to impossible from the man
who’s facing execution.
The film represents the hard choices of charismatic rebel hoodlum and nagging moralizer priest and it serves tremendously towards that harrowing and unlikely climax with expressionistic shadows as Rocky is dragged whimpering towards electric chair; it’s powerful image that still enrage the audience who do not share the film’s stern moral point of view. It would be huge injustice if I’ll forget to mention awesome James Cagney, the benchmark to play tough big shot of al-time. All gangsters of
dwarf against the shortest of them all…who else than James Cagney! Nobody wears
that wry smile and devil may care attitude on his sleeve even when facing the
last judgment of fate or life. He’s the one and only classic gangster that
stand above all. I hate to watch Cagney died like this...like those i'm also frustrated towarss the end. Whaddya hear? Whaddya say?