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Angels with Dirty Faces

Posted on the 10 November 2011 by Kaiser31083 @andythemovieguy
Angels with Dirty FacesAfter committing a petty crime, young chums Rocky and Jerry make their escape when Jerry stumbles on the train tracks and is saved by Rocky who is in turn arrested as Jerry makes it out. The two's lives take divergent paths, Rocky becoming a career criminal  and Jerry a priest. Years later when the two reunite, Jerry (Pat O'Brien) becomes discouraged by how the slum kids have taken a liking to Rocky (James Cagney) and goes on a crusade to exposed organized crime in the area, much the chagrin of the shyster lawyer (Humphrey Bogart) who wishes to take the righteous priest down. Michael Curtiz's "Angels with Dirty Faces" has one of the most hackneyed and antiquated set-ups known to the movies, yet it is still raucously entertaining and possibly the finest of the Warner Brothers gangster pictures. James Cagney is delightful and charismatic as ever and has some wonderful scenes in which he mentors O'Brien's Dead End Kids including one where he officiates a basketball games and resorts to tactics as dirty as the ones used as his players. Bogart is effective as well in a thankless role as the heavy, but I was really impressed by O'Brien's work in the typically boring work as the straight man. O'Brien brings weight to the role and is a large reason the film succeeds. "Angels with Dirty Faces" rises above its framework and even above its genre, and its final conclusion is greatly realized and extremely satisfying.

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