http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020836/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1The Doorway to Hell (1930) cast, courtesy of imdb
Lew Ayres ... Louie
Charles Judels ... Florist (scenes deleted)
Dorothy Mathews ... Doris
Leon Janney ... Jackie
Robert Elliott ... O'Grady
James Cagney ... Mileaway
Kenneth Thomson ... Capt. of Academy
Jerry Mandy ... Gangster
Noel Madison ... Rocco
Edwin Argus ... Midget
Eddie Kane ... Dr. Morton
Tom Wilson ... Gangster
Dwight Frye ... Gangster
I give this early Warner Bros. gangster film a 7.5/10
. Of all the "non-famous" – I'd never heard of the film before I saw it playing TCM – 30's gangster movies, this is probably the best one I've seen.
Lew Ayres plays a Chicago gangster who rules the alcohol racket.... till he gets married and decides he wants out, wants to settle down in Florida, play golf and write his autobiography. Al Pacino should have been around to tell him that just when you think you're out, they pull you back in.
As you can expect from a movie of this time: its all studio-based, with a static camera, lots of tough-guy talk, and there's a postscript preaching to us how this is the fate of every gangster, etc.
Ayres is good in the lead role. Sixth-billed James Cagney – six months before the release of The Public Enemy
– has a significant supporting role.
One recent review I read (see bottom of next post) says this film was the first of the 30's Warner's gangster cycle. I definitely think it's interesting for any fan of the 30's gangster movies. I wouldn't say you have to rush to Amazon and buy the dvd, but definitely catch it next time it plays TCM