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HE WAS HER MAN (director: Lloyd Bacon; screenwriters: Tom Buckingham/Niven Busch/story by Robert Lord; cinematographer: George Barnes; editor: George Amy; music: Bernhard Kaun; cast: James Cagney (Flicker Hayes/Jerry Allen), Joan Blondell (Rose Lawrence), Victor Jory (Nick Gardella), Sarah Padden (Mrs. Gardella), Frank Craven (Pop Sims), Harold Huber (J.C. Ward), Russell Hopton (Monk), Ralf Harolde (Red Deering), John Qualen (Dutch), Bradley Page (Dan Curly), Dennis O’Keefe (Reporter); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Lord; Warner Bros.; 1934)
Early Warner Brothers snappy crime thriller for James Cagney, is typical studio fare.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Early Warner Brothers snappy crime thriller for James Cagney, is typical studio fare but received mostly poor reviews upon its release. Some because they didn’t like Cagney’s new mustache and found him an unsympathetic character. Good performances by star-crossed lovers Cagney and Joan Blondell, keeps this poorly plotted flick afloat. This was the good chemistry duo’s seventh and final film together. Studio director Lloyd Bacon(“Moby Dick”/”Here Comes The Navy”/”42nd Street”) does an uninspired but workmanlike job directing. It’s based on a story by Robert Lord, with an acceptable but hardly credible screenplay by Tom Buckingham and Niven Busch.

Safe-cracker Flicker Hayes (James Cagney) was just released from the slammer in NYC after framed by his two partners, who recruit him for another heist. The revenge-minded Flicker gets $15,000 up front and then rats them out to the cops, who catch them in the act. When one of the thugs, Red Deering (Ralf Harolde), chooses to shoot it out he kills a cop and gets the electric chair. His partner Dan Curly (Bradley Page), who escaped from the police, takes out a contract on Flicker, who a year later is living in San Francisco. Vacationing NYC resident Pop Sims (Frank Craven) recognizes him and calls the NY mob, who send two contract killers, Monk (Russell Hopton) and J.C. (Harold Huber), to get the rat. Meanwhile Flicker, using the alias Jerry Allen, hooks up with reformed streetwalker Rose Lawrence (Joan Blondell). She’s broke and returned to the room she got the boot from yesterday, which happens to be Flicker’s room, to recover her wedding dress she hid under the bed so the hotel won’t confiscate it. Rose will need the dress in a few days to marry an old-fashioned Portuguese fisherman, Nick Gardella (Victor Jory), in his hometown sleepy fishing village of Santa Avila that is some 50 miles down from the SF coast. Nick knows her story and is all forgiveness, willing to start new, and she’s also anxious for a new start in life. Flicker stakes the broad to the bus ticket and joins her, as she introduces him to Nick’s mom as her friend from San Francisco. Pop Sims also shows in Santa Avila, and sets our boy up for the soon to arrive hit men. Meanwhile the agitated Rose, realizing she loves Jerry, has seconds thoughts about the marriage and plans to run away on her wedding day with him, but the gunmen arrive and everything changes.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”