Tuesday May 18, 2021
William Cagney, Palooka
Yeah, that's James Cagney's brother, Bill, who followed Jim to Hollywood, acted in a few movies, then became his agent and a producer at Cagney Productions. The above shot is from “Palooka,” a 1934 flick based on the comic strip “Joe Palooka.” It stars Jimmy Durante as the coach, Lupe Velez as the girl, Robert Armstrong as the father, and Stuart Erwin as Joe Palooka, a kind-hearted boxer who often gets pummeled. Cagney plays Al McSwatt, another boxer, the champ, I believe. He may look like older brother Jim but he doesn't have that verve, energy, glint and glimmer. No soap.
The movie's not great, either. I couldn't even finish it. But it is an early Hollywood attempt at adapting comic strips/books, which would wax and wane over the years until it became ascendant this century.