Thursday, March 26, 2009

He'll go for any ol' bag.

A few thoughts on Smart Money, starring Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney in the only movie they were ever in together.

Robinson has the bigger role, as Cagney's is a smaller, supporting character. I'm not entirely sure that the summaries about their characters' relationship are correct. Unless I missed something, they're never actually referred to as brothers. Robinson plays Nick Venizelos, and Cagney plays Jack, and I can't remember if he shared the same last name. Nick refers to Jack as a "friend" more than once, yet there are other times when he jokes about his brother owning the Mint, and I'm not certain if he was talking about Jack. In any case, it's evident that whatever relationship they have, it's a very close one. Almost to the point of...well, subtext. ...It was actually kind of cute. *cough*

It's a gambling story and if you don't understand playing dice or poker or whatever else involves cards and chance, it might seem tedious at times. Also, hello racism! Seriously, it was just completely unecessary. Well, yeah, duh. Unless you count rubbing a black man's head for good luck (like, three times! cut it out already, it didn't work the first time!) necessary to the plot, "suntan" and "boy" notwithstanding. It's those kinds of things that make watching movies from this period -- in this case, this movie came out in 1931 -- really uncomfortable.

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