The Public Enemy

Soooo last class we watched “The Public Enemy” a 1931 black n white film. It started off pretty odd for me with the two random kids drinking, what i had initially thought was milk, beer. Later I noticed it was just foreshadowing the kind of lives that Tom and Matt would take later on. Hoodlums and “gangsters” always seem to come out of broken homes and dysfunctional families, but Tom’s brother, Mike was able to grow up and become someone and live an honest life. However, at a young age, we noticed Tom as a trouble-maker and a boy that would probably grow up to be someone of a gangster nature. He had a quick mouth and brought fear to a lot of people. However, his brother always seems to overtake him. I really found it funny how his brother was able to hit him around and not care that he was a gangster and may have been carrying a gun. The dialog of the movie was interesting with their fast talking and the iconical mannerism of the early 1900 gangsters. They were real tough guys and retaliation escaped no one. When Tom and Matt’s boss, Nails, died due to an accident with a horse, they bought the horse and then killed it. It was really gangster-esque. Tom in all just seemed like a crappy person. The way he treated women and his funny knuckle-two-tapped-nudge just made him seem like a guy with no regards to anyone. He was decent with his mother but that never really translated with any of the other women he was with. His change finally came when he was shot after retaliating for Matt’s unfortunate death. He apologized to his brother and just really seemed helpless. Fortunately he mad amends before he was finally killed by the other gang. It was interesting that the director Wellman made the decision to put a little moral at the end to teach society a lesson and gave them charge to handle these issues. Rarely do movies do that so obviously. The moral is just set in the movie itself and if there are any sort of writing before or after, it is more open and not so much of a demand. Overall it was an interesting film.

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1 Comment

  1.   Diane Seewald Said:

    on September 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I agree with you that movies today do not have morals at the end that teach a lesson so obviously. I felt the Public Enemy took a serious situation and made it at points more light hearted.

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