Rent The Public Enemy (1931)

3.8 of 5 from 142 ratings
1h 19min
Rent The Public Enemy (aka Beer and Blood) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
"The Public Enemy" showcases James Cagney's powerful 1931 breakthrough performance as streetwise tough guy Tom Powers, but only because production chief Darryl F. Zanuck made a late casting change. When shooting began, Cagney had a secondary role but Zanuck soon spotted Cagney's screen dominance and gave him the star part. From that moment, an indelible genre classic and an enduring star career were both born. Bristling with '20s style, dialogue and desperation under the masterful directorial eye of William A. Wellman, this is a virtual time capsule of the Prohibition era: taut, gritty and hard-hitting - even at breakfast when grapefruit is served.
Actors:
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Directors:
Producers:
Darryl F. Zanuck
Writers:
Kubec Glasmon, John Bright, Harvey F. Thew
Aka:
Beer and Blood
Studio:
Warner
Genres:
Classics, Drama, Thrillers
Collections:
Award Winners, Films & TV by topic, Getting to Know..., Getting to Know: Kenneth Branagh, Heist Movies: A 20-Year Stretch, Holidays Film Collection, Memory Lane: Films Set in 1920s, The Biggest Oscar Snubs: Part 1, The Cinema Paradiso Kissing Montage, A Brief History of Film..., What We Were Watching in 1971
BBFC:
Release Date:
28/02/2005
Run Time:
79 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, German Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
Subtitles:
Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Portuguese, Slovenian, Swedish, Turkish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Introduction by Leonard Maltin with Newsreel, Comedy Short ‘The Eyes Have It’, Cartoon ‘Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!’
  • Trailer
  • Featurette Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public
  • Commentary By Robert Sklar
BBFC:
Release Date:
14/08/2017
Run Time:
84 minutes
Languages:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0, German Dolby Digital 1.0
Subtitles:
Brazilian, English Hard of Hearing, French, German Hard of Hearing, Korean, Latin American Spanish
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Commentary by Film Historian Robert Sklar
  • Leonard Maltin Hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1931 with Newsreel, Comedy Short 'The Eyes Have It', Cartoon 'Smile, Dam Ya, Smile!' and Theatrical Trailers
  • Featurette Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public
  • 1954 Rerelease Foreword

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Reviews (2) of The Public Enemy

Great James Cagney Gangster Flick - The Public Enemy review by EP

Spoiler Alert
24/10/2018

This is an old film and it shows, some of the acting isn't that great either, but the dialogue is the epitome of the era "please don't slug me" etc haha and it is one of the first films where you end up rooting for the bad guy. Films like this probably influenced Tarrantino, it must have been pretty shocking at the time, anyhow Cagney is in usual shouty form and there's loads of old school gangster action, some of the story is a bit not believable but the ending is great - shocking and weirdly funny too.

Not one for people who like modern films but I really enjoyed this old time gangster stuff. Grab a brew and some pretzels and enjoy.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Proto-gangster Classic (spoiler). - The Public Enemy review by Steve

Spoiler Alert
17/09/2022

This remains a classic because of the pugnacious script, William Wellman's pacy, artful direction and James Cagney's dynamic, star making performance as an ambitious Irish gangster who rises on the prohibition crimewave only to crash into a spray of rival bullets. And then dumped in a bloody parcel on his mothers doormat.

Cagney delivers the tough guy dialogue brilliantly, and he is on a different level from the rest of the cast. He is utterly believable. He turns many startling, offbeat scenes into film legend: when he steals his first gun; when he shoots his boss' racehorse; and most famously when he pushes a half grapefruit into the face of his moll (Mae Clarke).

This is one of the great early sound films. The pacing is slick, the camera moves and the frame is filled with exciting action. The main weakness is the stiff acting of the support cast. In particular, the strange performance of Jean Harlow as the high maintenance good time girl the public enemy aspires after. She seems to be in a trance.

One of the surprises is how frank this is about how the gangs make their money. The film looks like a guide for how to get into prohibition crime! And it's unusually liberal. OK, Cagney plays a psychopath, but the film implies that crime is a product of poverty and the slums. It blames prohibition for organised crime. It's a miracle how candid it is, despite the censorship.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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