Movie Diary 6/28/2021

Jimmy the Gent (Michael Curtiz, 1934). Ridiculous storyline, in which the title’s promise (a roughhouse Cagney character does a self-Pygmalion as he tries to class himself up in the eyes of Bette Davis) is basically left offscreen – and yet the milieu, the crackling lingo, the dynamics of Curtiz’ direction, and especially the zingy Cagney performance all combine to make it a hoot. JC runs an office that tracks down lost heirs, sometimes manufacturing them and splitting the proceeds; Davis works for a rival investigator (how many people are in this business?), played with satisfying unction by Alan Dinehart. Alice White provides gum-chewing comedy as a tootsie drawn into one of JC’s wild schemes, and Mayo Methot (Mrs. Bogart to you) handles a couple of scenes with alarming fierceness. In short, terrif.

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