Great Guy – 1936 – English
Film directed in 1936 by John G. Blystone, and starring James Cagney, Mae Clarke, James Burke, Edward Brophy, Henry Kolker, Bernadene Hayes, Edward McNamara, Robert Gleckler, Joe Sawyer, Edward Gargan, Matty Fain, Mary Gordon, Wallis Clark, Douglas Wood, Dennis O’Keefe…
Synopsis: It’s the New York Department of Weights and Measures vs. a systematic effort to cheat the public by giving them less product than they pay for…organized by crooked city alderman Marty Cavanaugh, who put the last chief deputy inspector in the hospital. The new man, pugnacious Johnny Cave, steps on the toes of influential merchants and gets increasing pressure, both political and strong-arm, to desist. Will the luck (if not the pluck) of the Irish pull him through?
Review: If you like James Cagney you’ll like this film. It has the pretense of American integrity at any cost, personal or social. Cagney plays the head of weights and measures in NYC. Cagney goes up against crooked politicians, the criminal underground, a prominent philanthropist and simple grocers who add a few ounces to the price of a chicken. The chicken scene is hilarious where Cagney finds a weight placed in the bird cavity by an unsuspecting butcher. The chicken gets tossed around the shop in a hilarious scene about who controls the “evidence”. If you like old telephones there are interesting scenes of dials, phones and even bizarre phone cords. Compared to a lot of film made today this is pure entertainment and includes mystery with comedy and a message that honesty above all should be the guiding principle of humanity. Made in simpler times it reflects a world we can’t find today. The fashion (especially hats) outwear and automobiles all play a prominent visual role in defining this little film.