Saturday, March 21, 2009

James Cagney's gangsters partner with Humphrey Bogart's

Back in October, I mentioned Angels With Dirty Faces, in which James Cagney plays a gangster who was the boyhood friend of Pat O'Brien, now a Catholic priest. It's airing again on March 22 at 8:00 AM ET.

It's being preceded by another Cagney gangster movie, The Roaring Twenties, which starts at 6:00 AM. Both movies feature Humphrey Bogart in a supporting role. Bogart had started his career back in 1930 alongside Spencer Tracy in the Fox prison movie Up The River, which is currently in the Fox Movie Channel's rotation and will be airing this coming Tuesday. Bogart, however, spent years climbing his way up the ladder, really only getting to B-level in the mid-30s when he made Petrified Forest opposite Leslie Howard. He contintued to work his way up, but somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't until 1941 when he really became a star, making both The Maltese Falcon and High Sierra.

It's interesting, though, that in a movie like Dark Victory, which aired recently on TCM as part of Ronald Reagan's turn as "Star of the Month", Bogart gets a role that is not only a supporting role, but one in which he was clearly miscast; as Bette Davis' Irish-American stable manager. (Not that Reagan was much better cast, playing one of Davis' idle rich friends.)

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