Grant Wither's acting...

...seemed a little weird to me. Came off as very exaggerated and slightly hammy.

I can't tell if it's Grant, the direction he was given or maybe that's just how people acted back then.


Slow and overdone -- yes. One reason Withers never became a star, or even a major character actor, though he worked in films (and later TV) all his life.

But I also blame the direction -- acting in early talkies was often pretty stilted and exaggerated. That's why Cagney stood out so much -- he was completely different than anyone else in front of the camera -- intuitive, dynamic, inventive, always moving, he grabs the audience's eye whenever he's on the screen, even just sitting down. That's a star.

As an aside, Evalyn Knapp was no great actress, but I thought she was exceptionally pretty, even beautiful -- much better looking than Joan Blondell. But, like Cagney, Joan had something in front of the camera that the beautiful Evalyn just didn't, and that makes all the difference.



I totally agree. Did not see much in him at all. Well with Cagney on screen everyone kind of fades to the background.


Just watched the film last week. Blondell and Cagney were already light years ahead of the nominal stars in terms of screen presence and naturalism.

May I bone your kipper, Mademoiselle?