TAXI

(1932)
With James Cagney, Loretta Young, Guy Kibbee, George E. Stone, Leila Bennett, Dorthy Burgess, David Landau, Ray Cooke, Nat Pendleton, George Raft
Directed by Roy Del Ruth
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

     TAXI! begins strongly with a sequence where independent taxi driver Pop Riley (Guy Kibbee) is intimidated by a rival company and lands himself in jail after killing the truck driver who deliberately totals his cab.  This leads Matt Nolan (Cagney) to rally his fellow independent driver into action against Consolidated Cabs.  That plot is quickly dropped when Consoldidated Cabs almost agrees to arbitration that brings peace between that company and the independent drivers.  So the story then picks up with Cagney declaring his deep dislike for Pop Riley's daughter Sue (Loretta Young).  Several scenes later, they are an item.

    And so goes TAXI!, hopping from one plot point to another, hoping one of them will lead to a strong story.  None of them do, but it's a fun ride anyway, thanks to Cagney's energy and some memorable individual moments, such as Cagney speaking Yiddish to a Jewish customer, or losing a dance contest to his real-life pal and fellow hoofer George Raft.  The film bogs down several times, especially as it follows Sue's difficulties in maintaining her affection for Cagney's hot-headed cab driver, but there's always some new crackling dialogue to pep things up again.  The supporting cast is filled with good players, including David Landau and Nat Pendleton, who supported The Marx Brothers in their classic HORSE FEATHERS the same year.  2½ -  JB

James Cagney       The Stuff You Gotta Watch


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