darker and more poignant than public enemy, which is another warner gangster film of the time. cagney is more believable as a gangster than the young edward g. robinson and the evolution of cagney’s character draws the viewer in more effectively. the film begins in 1918 in france where cagney and bogart are soldiers in world war one. in one of the darker, more telling scenes we see cagney, bogart and jeffrey lynn behind a wall firing on the enemy while talking to each other about the war. lynn takes aim on an enemy soldier and elects to not fire upon him because he “doesn’t look a day older than 15.” bogart takes aim on the same soldier, fires, and says “he’ll never see 16 now.” a few seconds later a fellow soldier runs by in a hurry and tells them to cease fire because the armistice had been signed. it’s a devastating scene, but is dealt with in a rather passing manner. indeed, much of the film seemed directed like this. it isn’t until the end that i saw a real filmic statement judgment made on any of the characters. the time of the film is compressed (it covers about 15 years) which gives the film a larger, almost epic feel despite being only 100 minutes long. worth a look.