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May 28, 2022, 07:10:36 PM

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: The Public Enemy (1931)  ( 7940 )
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trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?

« #15 : September 10, 2020, 11:04:50 PM »

Nice essay on The Public Enemy by Matt Zoller Seitz

In a nutshell, he says that this movie is flawed, and Cagney just about singlehandedly makes it memorable. I agree.

One thing I disagree with him on is that he speaks admirably about the minimal sound used: "Like a lot of films shot between the end of the silent era and the early years of sound, this one uses music and audio effects sparingly and with imagination, never overloading the audience (or the 1931 theater's monaural speakers) with excessive and unnecessary detail. You hear and see what you need to hear and see, and the experience of watching and listening to "The Public Enemy" has a meditative effect, driving home what visual and aural soup contemporary films have become. The traffic noises, the gunshots, the sounds of running feet and pouring rain and police whistles and sirens, and the occasional long silences, are all of a piece with the sinuous tracking shots ..."

To me, the lack of music is a major flaw.

As I've said in a few posts here, while I loved this movie the first 2 or 3 times I saw it, the last few times, I have been quite down on it. I'm sure I'll watch it again multiple times when it plays on TCM, but I likely won't ever bother actually playing the BRD again. The early sound era, movies were still finding their way. This movie is so much worse than, say, The Roaring Twenties eight years later.

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
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