Lady Killer

Lady Killer

Director: Roy Del Ruth, James Cagney, Mae Clarke, Leslie Fenton

Cast: Roy Del Ruth, James Cagney, Mae Clarke, Leslie Fenton

     
 

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We first lay eyes on Jimmy Cagney in Lady Killer while he's working as a movie theater usher. This job lasts just long enough for Jimmy to be swindled in a "badger game" orchestrated by hard-boiled Mae Clarke and a gang of crooks headed by Douglass Dumbrille. Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Cagney joins the mob, and soon is calling the shots. But though

Overview

We first lay eyes on Jimmy Cagney in Lady Killer while he's working as a movie theater usher. This job lasts just long enough for Jimmy to be swindled in a "badger game" orchestrated by hard-boiled Mae Clarke and a gang of crooks headed by Douglass Dumbrille. Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Cagney joins the mob, and soon is calling the shots. But though he's got larceny in his soul, Cagney draws the line at murder, and when gang member Raymond Hatton is bumped off, Cagney and Clarke board the Super Chief and head to California. With the cops laying for Cagney in LA, he's suspicious of everyone. A shifty-looking mug (William B. Davidson) takes after Cagney on the street; catching up to the winded Cagney, the mug explains that he's a movie director, and that Cagney is a perfect "type" for an upcoming prison picture. After several months as a bit player, Cagney befriends good-natured movie-star Margaret Lindsay, who encourages Cagney to seek out bigger parts. The enterprising Cagney engineers a phony fan-mail campaign encouraging the studio to give him starring roles. Though now a slick, pomaded romantic lead in pictures, Cagney is still Cagney; when a snooty critic pans Lindsay's most recent performance, Cagney forces the reviewer to literally eat his words! It must needs be that Cagney's old gang shows up in Hollywood, planning to use Cagney's influence to gain entree into movie stars' mansions, then steal their valuables. Cagney says ixnay to this, so the mob schemes to take him for a ride. Tipped off by Clarke, Cagney is able to rout the crooks, save the day, and claim Lindsay for his bride. Lady Killer is vintage Cagney, throwing virtually every one of his star-making attributes (including one cute reference to his legendary "grapefruit scene" in 1931's Public Enemy) into one entertaining 76-minute stew.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Mae Clarke, in her autobiography Featured Player (1996), claimed that James Cagney and director William Wellman basically created the famous grapefruit incident in Public Enemy (1932) without her consent and that the viciousness of the attack had shocked her. The scene is, of course, unforgettable and a follow-up inevitable. It came two-thirds of the way through Lady Killer when gangster-turned-movie star Cagney discovers a kittenish Miss Clarke in his bedroom -- much to the consternation of his movie-star girlfriend Margaret Lindsay. Despite his newfound sophistication, Cagney acts as he would have in Hell's Kitchen: He drags the unwelcome guest out of the room by her hair! This time, happily, Clarke was in on the gag and she is visibly holding on for dear life to Cagney's wrists. The scene is still startling in its brutality, especially coming in what is really a comedy. And despite this act of physical abuse and a climactic shootout that leaves bodies scattered all over what appears to be Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles, Lady Killer is a comedy and a good one. As always, the Warner Bros. stock company is in high gear throughout and there are especially enjoyable performances by Douglas Dumbrille as Cagney's former partner-in-crime and Herman Bing as an autocratic director of Western movies.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/25/2008
UPC:
0883929002733
Original Release:
1933
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:15:00

Special Features

Commentary by film historian Dr. Drew Casper; Warner Night At the Movies 1933 short subjects gallery:; Movie retrospective short: The Camera Speaks; Vintage newsreel; Musical short: Kissing Time; Classic cartoon: The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives; Trailers of Lady Killer and 1933's Footlight Parade

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Cagney Don Quigley
Mae Clarke Myra Gale
Leslie Fenton Duke
Margaret Lindsay Lois Underwood
Henry O'Neill Ramick
Willard Robertson Conroy
Douglas Cosgrove Jones
Raymond Hatton Pete
Russell Hopton Smiley
Marjorie Gateson Mrs. Wilbur Marley
Robert Elliott Brannigan
John Marston Kendall
Douglas Dumbrille Spade Maddock
George Chandler George Thompson
Harry C. Bradley Man with Purse
Grace Hayle Fat Woman with Dog
Harry Strang Ambulance Attendant
Jack LaRue Actor
William B. Davidson Williams
Luis Alberni Director
Sam Ash Hood
Harry Beresford Dr. Crane
Herman Bing Western director
George Blackwood The Escort
James Burke Hand-out
Spencer Charters L.A. Cop
Ray Cooke Property Man
Harry Holman J.B. Roland
Olaf Hytten Butler
Edwin Maxwell Jeffries, theater manager
Sam McDaniel Porter
Dewey Robinson Movie fan
Frank Sheridan Los Angeles Police Chief
Phil Tead Usher Sargeant Seymour
Harold Waldridge Letter-handler
Al Hill Casino Cashier
Robert E. Homans Jailer
Dennis O'Keefe Man in casino
Clarence H. Wilson Dan's Lawyer

Technical Credits
Roy Del Ruth Director
George J. Amy Editor
Henry Blanke Producer
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Tony Gaudio Cinematographer
Robert M. Haas Art Director
Chuck Hansen Asst. Director
Lillie Hayward Screenwriter
Ben Markson Screenwriter
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Perc Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Lady Killer
1. Credits [1:08]
2. Not Usher Material [3:31]
3. Getting Purseonal [3:18]
4. Cutting Himself In [4:42]
5. Casing the Marley Manse [5:11]
6. Lady Fingers [2:43]
7. A Murder and a Powder [3:01]
8. Places to Go [3:17]
9. L.A. Reception Committee [3:05]
10. Friends Do a Fade [3:05]
11. Make It Look Real [4:12]
12. Chief Meets Star [4:58]
13. His Own Biggest Fan [1:38]
14. Monkeyshines [4:20]
15. Roughing up a Reviewer [3:09]
16. Bedroom Surprise [3:07]
17. See It Our Way [3:58]
18. Overwhelming Fragrance [4:54]
19. Robbery Rap [4:54]
20. Bailed Out [3:14]
21. Chased and Cleared [4:00]

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