The Roaring Twenties 1939





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Published on Apr 4, 2011

The Roaring Twenties Trailer

The Roaring Twenties is a 1939 crime thriller starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart and Gladys George. The movie was directed by Raoul Walsh, and written by Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay and Robert Rossen based on the story "The World Moves On" by Mark Hellinger. The Roaring Twenties was the last film that Cagney and Bogart made together.

The Roaring Twenties is based on "The World Moves On," a short story by Mark Hellinger, a columnist who had been hired by Jack Warner to write screenplays. The movie is hailed as a classic in the gangster movie genre, and considered a "homage" to the classic gangster movie of the early 1930s.


The film follows three men who meet in a foxhole during the waning days of World War I: Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney), George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn), and depicts their trials and tribulations from the Armistice through the passage of the 18th Amendment leading to the Prohibition period of the 1920s and the violence which erupted due to it all the way through the 1929 crash of the stock market to its conclusion at the end of 1933, only days after the 21st Amendment brought an end to the Prohibition era.

Following World War 1, Eddie Bartlett returns home from the war only to find his old job at a car shop is occupied. While naive Eddie (he orders milk at a speakeasy) is pulled into the boot-legging business by Panama Smith (Gladys George), he remeets Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane), a girl he formerly spoke to during the war while she was in high school now working at a nightclub. She is an undiscovered star that Eddie generally takes under his wing. But when Bartlett runs into Hally on a boat raid, they agree to work together (as Hally is also in bootlegging). They also meet Hart again who has turned into a successful lawyer. He falls hard for Jean, not knowing Eddie has a thing for her. Due to a bad business deal with Hally however (as well as the stock market crash), Eddie's bootlegging empire crumbles and he's back to driving cabs and having hangovers. Quite by chance, one day Jean steps into Eddie's cab. Eddie is now angry at her for leaving him for Hart and marrying him, so he's stand-offish at first. But after talking, as well as meeting Jean and Lloyd's four-year old son, Jean and Eddie agree to be friends and leave it at that. But, after talking to Hally again, Eddie learns Hally is going to murder Hart because he "knows too much". Eddie adamantly protests and after talking to Jean again, goes to Hally's house to convince him not to bump Hart off. This results in a shootout in which Eddie kills Hally {"Here's one rap ya' won't beat..."} and some of his men, redeeming himself. After running outside, he is shot in the back by another cohort, runs a little ways, knocks over a mail box, and then dramatically collapses on the steps of a church. Panama runs to him and after being interviewed by a cop whilst she cradles Eddie's lifeless body, she informs the officer, "He used to be a big shot...".


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