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There comes a time in the career of every gangster star when he has to go straight. Jimmy Cagney did it in "G" Men, a crisp crimefighting drama directed by William Keighley. Its hero is one more Cagney variation on the working-class guy with a smart mouth and a hard right, only this time he's a lawyer whose education was paid for by the avuncular local crimelord. Cagney's on the square, though, and after a law-school pal turned F.B.I. agent is murdered in the line of duty, he joins the Bureau. Made with the blessings of J. Edgar Hoover, the movie pays homage to several spectacular moments in Bureau legend, but it's at its grabbiest when things get personal for Cagney--say, the complications that arise from his onetime sorta-girlfriend, nightclub chanteuse Ann Dvorak, taking up with very bad dude Barton MacLane. Film critic Manny Farber praised Keighley as "the least sentimental director of gangster careers," and he gives the numerous murders and shootouts a jolting ferocity. (Thirteen years later Keighley helmed the excellent F.B.I. case history Street With No Name.) The I-don't-like-you-and-I-don't-trust-you byplay between Cagney and his Bureau boss Robert Armstrong gets old, but there's flavorful thuggery from MacLane, Edward Pawley, Noel Madison, et al. "G" Men's style is briskly no-nonsense, yet so beautifully has the film been restored and digitally remastered, there are moments when Sol Polito's cinematography literally glows.

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Special Features * Warner Night at the Movies 1935: vintage newsreel, comedy short The Old Grey Mayor starring Bob Hope, classic cartoon Buddy the Gee Man * New featurette Morality and the Code: A How-to Manual for Hollywood * Commentary by film historian Richard Jewell * How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No 11: Practice Shots * Things You Never See on the Screen: Breakdowns of 1935 studio blooper reel * Theatrical trailer

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WA67950 G-Men DVD (1935/James Cagney) $19.98 $17.99