PICTURE SNATCHER

(1933)
With James Cagney, Ralph Bellamy, Patricia Ellis, Alice White, Robert Emmett O'Connor
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

     Truthfully there's not much more I can add to what Marguerite Tazalar said about this film in the New York Herald Tribune back in 1933:

    "James Cagney''s latest production is fast, snappy, tough and packed with action.  It is curious how this pugnacious little man dominates the screen so fiercely in all his stories, regardless of their worth."

    If I could add anything, it would be the words of John S. Cohen in the New York Sun: 

    "Again, it is obvious that he is an exceptionally resourceful performer.  His acting is filled with touches that heighten and throw him in sharp setoff to --- well, most of Hollywood."

    As I have said all over this Cagney section, the man made anything he was in worth watching, and PICTURE SNATCHER is no exception.  The story is typical early Warners nonsense - ex-con becomes ace photographer for a local tabloid - but Cagney's genius for making his character memorable no matter what the script comes through in almost every frame.  It's the little evil laugh he has when he comes up with his latest scheme to take the picture no other paper can get.  It's the hand movements, the little dance he does for all of three seconds when he finds a slow tune on the radio, it's the way he stands, the way he walks, the way he talks.  Edward G. Robinson, the other big "gangster" star on the Warner lot, had many of the same qualities, but Robinson had the soul of a philosopher, Cagney the soul of a dancer.  In the end, this made Robinson the more versatile screen performer, but Cagney the more dynamic screen presence.  These two greats, and many others (Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart for starters) could have only come from Warners.

    In short, listen to the reviewers above.  PICTURE SNATCHER is good because Cagney is in it.  What are you waiting for?  3 - JB

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