Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Public Enemy
The Public Enemy is a 1931 film noir crime drama in which a good brother tries to turn his bad brother back onto the good path. It stars James Cagney, Edward Woods , Jean Harlow, Joan Blondell, Beryl Mercer , Donald Cook and Mae Clarke .
The movie was adapted by Kubec Glasmon and Harvey F. Thew from the story Beer and Blood by John Bright. It was directed by William A. Wellman .
The Public Enemy was the first worldwide box office hit for James Cagney. It forever cast him in the public eye as a "tough guy," an image he was unable to shed even despite numerous roles chosen especially to counter that image (including his Oscar-winning role in Yankee Doodle Dandy). A famous scene in which he smashes half of a grapefruit into his girlfriend's face sparked controversy over the movie's allegedly misogynist theme. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
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