THE OKLAHOMA KID

(1939)
With James Cagney,  Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane, Donald Crisp, Harvey Stevens, Hugh Sothern, Charles Middleton, Ward Bond
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

     What a shame that one of the only three films co-starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart is not nearly as good as THE ROARING TWENTIES or ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES.  THE OKLAHOMA KID feels like a bunch of guys at Warners had nothing to do, said "Let's make a western!", grabbed director Lloyd Bacon and a bunch of tough mugs and great character actors and bashed one out in a week.  The sets ands scenery are all fine, but there's nothing that separates THE OKLAHOMA KID from hundreds of other westerns except the Cagney-Bogart novelty, and it's not nearly as strong a hook as it was in the other aforementioned films.  Cagney is fine, if a little subdued as an outlaw with a heart of gold.  Bogart spent much of the decade playing heavies, but here on the eve of his becoming a star in his own right, it is sad to see him a such a Johnny One-Note black hat bad guy part.  

    It's far from being a terrible film, but THE OKLAHOMA KID is not a film that will often be mentioned with other Cagney classics, and certainly is merely an interesting footnote in Bogey's career.  2½ - JB

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