Public Enemy

Public Enemy

Ricardo La Rosa 9/2/2011
History of Cinema II Prof. Amy Herzog

This is a movie made in the prohibition era about two kids, who guided by an older man, took a life of crime from an early age. The film shows the forces of good and evil, the good represented by Mike and Tom characterizing the bad brother.

 I did not like the movie because with the exception of James Cagney and Jean Harlow, the acting was very weak. The Director, William A. Wellman, was weak in not providing better input for the actors to do their roles properly.

 Cagney humanizes the gangster with gestures that are at times charming and mostly realistic to his character. In this movie, the women are treated as a burden to the story presenting them as exaggeratedly easy and just there to fill the story without details that make a story savory.

These boys grow up to be gangster that live the life of gangsters, always in danger and buying cars, girls and dressing the part very well.

The director could have done a lot more  to show the  struggle of good and evil between the brothers specially after  the Mike comes back from the war, he could have demonstrated  more passion in  his roll and not just seat there  doing such a horrible job in opposing the bad brother.

 The good thing about the movies I have seen so far in the class is that the actors stay in character and follow a psychological trend, for example, Tom is violent, short-tempered, and very impulsive. He gets to kill the traitor mentor who initiated him in the life of crime but, is loyal to his friend and family. Tom treats girls as objects.

I have to mention that the Director presents an unfinished story in the relationship between Cagney and Harlow. In the end, the bad brother dies the same way he lived life, with violence.

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One thought on “Public Enemy

  1. I definitely agree that the acting in this movie was very weak. Also you are right in pointing out that the role of the big brother(good brother),after coming back from war. That he should of been more assertive and agressive in standing for his beliefs and opposing is brother. Its like role was kind of reversed cause,Tommy acted way more mature than Mike or maybe Mike nature is more layback. While Tommy’s arrogance overshadows his brother’s weak effort to be a better brother. Also to put the mother in characterization , she is gullible to the fact that Tommy is a gangster and gets money the wrong way,because his regular 9-5 can’t buy want he have achieved.

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