The Public Enemy Overview:

The Public Enemy (1931) was a Action - Crime Film directed by William A. Wellman and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.

The film was based on the novel Beer and Blood written by John Bright published in unpublished.

SYNOPSIS

This is Wellman's brutal pre-Code depiction of Young Chicago hoodlums in the '20s. His last-minute casting of Cagney as the lead mobster launched his career as the movies' gangster king and typecast him for years. Two Irish boys (Cagney and Woods) grow up hard on the South Side, taking part in small-time heists until they kill a cop. With Prohibition comes the opportunity for more money and they become bootleggers, splurging on booze and women, including floozies Blondell, Clarke, and Harlow. When Cagney tires of Clarke, their argument leads to the infamous grapefruit scene in which a surprised Clarke get half a grapefruit in the kisser. the hoodlums come to a bad end, of course, but not before a truly shocking amount of gunplay. This and Little Caesar (1930) are the twin pillars of the gangster genre.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).

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The Public Enemy was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1998.

Academy Awards 1930/31 --- Ceremony Number 4 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best WritingJohn Bright, Kubec GlasmonNominated
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BlogHub Articles:

The Public Enemy (1931): Did They have to Rub Out the Horse?

By FlickChick on Nov 7, 2022 From A Person in the Dark

This is my entry in the Classic Movie Blog Association's Movies are Murder Blogathon. Click here for more movie murder and mayhem.The Public Enemy: The Killer Must Be KilledThisAs most likely know, there are murders aplenty in The Public Enemy (1931). There are those anonymous gang members caught in... Read full article


Revisitando o “Inimigo P?blico” (1931) / Revisiting “The Public Enemy” (1931)

By L? on Dec 9, 2018 From Critica Retro

Revisitando o “Inimigo P?blico” (1931) / Revisiting “The Public Enemy” (1931) ESTE ARTIGO TEM SPOILERS THIS ARTICLE HAS SPOILERS Assim como a maioria dos adolescentes, eu era rebelde e nem sempre me dava bem com a minha fam?lia. Ao contr?rio da maioria dos adolesc... Read full article


DOUBLE BILL #12: The Public Enemy (1931) and Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)

By Carol Martinheira on Mar 9, 2018 From The Old Hollywood Garden

DOUBLE BILL #12: The Public Enemy (1931) and Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) On March 9, 2018 By CarolIn Uncategorized James Cagney once said about acting, ?Learn your lines, find your mark, look ?em in the eye and tell ?em the truth.? And he did. That was the thing abo... Read full article


Pre-Code Crazy: The Public Enemy (1931)

By shadowsandsatin on Feb 1, 2015 From Shadows and Satin

I love gangster movies from the 1930s, but for reasons that are not quite clear to me, I usually don?t watch them over and over like I do with so many of my other favorites. (Hmm.) As a result, when I recently watched?The Public Enemy?(1931), my Pre-Code Crazy pick for this month, I felt almost as i... Read full article


The Public Enemy*: the Crime Flick with No Glamour?

By Judy on Jul 31, 2014 From Cary Grant Won't Eat You

Having attacked James Cagney in a previous post, but seen few of his films, I thought I owed it to him to watch one of his hits. I found The Public Enemy on a streaming site and rec list (thanks, John!) and was instantly sucked into this understated gem. The hyperbolic title of the film suggests it... Read full article


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Quotes from

Tom Powers: [Tom stumbles from a gun fight gone wrong with the rival gang. He's barely walking and soaked from the rain] ... I ain't so tough.
[Tom collapses in the gutter]


Tom as a boy: [Tom grabs his pants just as his father is about to spank him] How do you want 'em this time, up or down?


Tom Powers: [Tom shuffles to the breakfast table in his pajamas. He's just finished a demanding call with Nails Nathan] Ain't you got a drink in the house?
Kitty: Well, not before breakfast, dear.
Tom Powers: [immediately annoyed] ... I didn't ask you for any lip. I asked you if you had a drink.
Kitty: [sheepishly] I know Tom, but I, I wish that...
Tom Powers: ...there you go with that wishin' stuff again. I wish you was a wishing well. So that I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya.
Kitty: Well, maybe you've found someone you like better.
[Tom is enraged and disgusted by her implication. He grimaces and shoves a grapefruit in her face as he leaves the table]


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Facts about

In an early scene, set in 1914, a piano can be heard in the background, as someone slowly plays through Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag".
Louise Brooks was offered Jean Harlow's role in this film.
The machine gun attack on Cagney and his best friend Matt Doyle actually used real machine gun bullets. An expert with the gun stood 15 to 20 feet away from the target, and when Cagney's face disappeared behind the corner of the wall, he opened fire and created that tight circle of machine gun bullets.
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Best Writing Oscar 1930/31











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National Film Registry

The Public Enemy

Released 1931
Inducted 1998
(Sound)




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Also directed by William A. Wellman




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Also produced by Darryl F. Zanuck




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