Big Brown Eyes (1936)

Eve Fallon (Joan Bennett), upset for having not received the correct judgment that had political interference quits being a reporter and goes back to her other manicurist profession.

Her boyfriend, Danny Barr (Cary Grant), a detective who is equally upset with this injustice, quits the police. Now, they are secretly on their way to find the evidence. This movie had comedy, witty one-liners, romance, and mystery.

Eve comes across as a big mouth and has some of the best lines in the movie. Among frequent banters, Eve and Dan are very much in love. Dan is investigating a series of jewel robberies, and one of them turned severe with a baby being killed by a stray bullet.

The killer was identified, but the system had loopholes and wasn’t punished against the charges. In his way, Dan privately starts a trail on Cortig, as he is convinced about his involvement.

He gets support from Eve as she is always curious and in constant look for any news. While manicuring, she figures the role of a prominent personality’s involvement in the jewel robberies. The missing piece in Dan’s investigation is filled by the discovery made by Eve.

Richard Morey, a local politician, played by Walter Pidgeon, is the main man behind the crime, and he is nabbed by the teamwork of Eve and Dan. Comical performances by Marjorie Gateson in the role of Mrs. Chesley Cole and Douglas Fowley as Benny provide some exercise to the laughter muscles.

Released in 1936, Big Brown Eyes, directed by Raoul Walsh, was an experimental movie considering that this movie genre was limited to Warner Bros in the mid-1930s. Paramount managed to get the bearing with the story and the screenplay and was well accepted at the box office.

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

‘The Roaring Twenties’ refers to the period post-WWI and the events during the 1920s in North America and other parts of Europe.

The recession hit America is not able to find jobs for the war veterans who return from Europe. Eddie Bartlett, George Hally, and Llyod Hart meet and become friends towards the war’s end.

Jean Sherman, played by Priscilla Lane, becomes a big fan of Eddie Bartlett for his heroics at war and sends him her photograph and letters during his stay in Europe.

Upon return to America, they find jobs hard to secure. Llyod Hart goes to practice law. George Hally, played by Humphrey Bogart, enters into bootlegging. The same would be Eddie Bartlett’s path, who becomes one of the members to have a bootleg business.

American prohibition law at that time prevented the manufacture, selling, import, and export of liquor. So this was taken as an opportunity to trade alcohol illegally.

He builds a fleet of cabs by selling bootleg liquors and hires Llyod Hart as his lawyer.

Eddie helps Jean Sherman to get a job in a speakeasy run by Panama Smith. Eddie is in love with Jean, and she is under obligation because of all the favours done to him.

The plot thickens when George becomes the partner and sets about killing the rival gang to regain supremacy.

Love debacle when it becomes clear that Jean Sherman and Llyod Hart are in love, his breakout with George and subsequent fall of share market doesn’t go well with Eddie. He spends some time in prison for his activities.

Eddie starts afresh by driving a cab, meets Jean Sherman after few years. Llyod Hart, happily married to Jean Sherman, has a home, a kid and a good work position. His life is under threat since Llyod is out to enforce specific legal laws that would ruin his business.

The final part is one of the defining moments when Jean Sherman asks Eddie to save her family. Eddie and George are having a confrontation resulting in gunshots and both being dead.

The character of Eddie Bartlett is inspired by the life and career of bootlegger Larry Fay. This movie also turned out to be one of the last action films James Cagney featured in before he set out to venture into other character roles.

Released in 1939, The Roaring Twenties was directed by Raoul Walsh. Look out for scenes where Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney share the space. It’s a viewer’s delight.