Each Dawn I Die (1939)

James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, George Bancroft,
Each Dawn I Die is a movie starring James Cagney, George Raft, and Jane Bryan. A corrupt D.A. with political ambitions is angered by news stories implicating him in criminal activity and decides to frame the reporter who wrote them...
  • 7.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Norman Reilly Raine, Warren Duff, Jerome Odlum, Charles Perry, Writer:
  • William Keighley, Director:
  • Producer:

Trailer:

7 / 10

Despite the Unrealistic Plot, It is an Engaging Prison Movie

The investigative reporter Frank Ross (James Cagney) finds evidence of corruption against a powerful politician Jesse Hanley (Thurston Hall) that is candidate to Governor in the elections. Hanley sends his gangsters to catch Frank to frame him. They knock his head and soak him with whiskey and then they put him fainted in car that hits another and kills the driver and two passengers. Frank can not prove that he is innocent and is sentenced to twenty years of hard labor in Rocky Point Prison.

The newspaper direction tries to find evidence of Frank's innocence while he befriends the gangster Stacey (George Raft) that was sentenced to 199 years. Stacey asks Frank to help him to be accused for a crime that he had not committed since he has planned to escape from the courthouse. In return, he would help to find who has framed him up using his contacts in the underworld. Will Stacey really find the responsible for the frame-up?

"Each Dawn I Die" is and engaging prison movie, despite the unrealistic plot. Stacey spontaneously returning to Rock Point is absolutely unbelievable and destroys the story. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Morte me Persegue" ("The Death Chases me")

7 / 10

Jailhouse blues

The main reason for watching this 1939 Warner Bros. picture is the allure of excellent ensemble performances by the cast that was assembled for it. William Keighley directed this black and white movie with great style in the way he staged the picture.

The teaming of James Cagney and George Raft proved to be an added attraction. James Cagney, who had been seen as a bad guy in most of his gangster oriented movies, plays a good guy here who ends up in jail for a crime he didn't commit. George Raft practically steals the movie and makes it his own. The chemistry between both stars is what makes the movie work. It was notorious how both Mr. Cagney and Mr. Raft enjoyed working with one another, and it translates to what one sees in the finished product.

The other great asset going for "Each Dawn I Die" is the strong ensemble cast that was put together to support the principals. George Bancroft, Max Rosenbloom, John Wray, Victor Jory and Edward Pawley are seen doing incredible work. Jane Bryan plays Joyce Conover, the good girl who believes in the innocence of her boyfriend and fights for his release.

Even though some aspects of the film are far fetched, it involves the viewer like other films of this genre thanks to the direction of Mr. Keighley and the excellent work he got out of his cast and crew.

7 / 10

1939 Film Classic

This was a great film for the Year 1939 with a great cast of veteran film stars. James Cagney, (Frank Ross) plays the role as a newspaper reporter who writes a front page head line involving some politicians running for the governor of a state who have burned all their records of evil doings and this story causes them many problems. The politicians decided to frame Frank and set him up by knocking him out and pouring booze on him and send his car crashing into a town and other people's cars. Frank is sentenced to prison for twenty-years and meets up with a guy named Hood "Stacey" who befriends him and they get along until things happen in the prison. Frank becomes very upset with his prison life and causes all kinds of bad problems for himself and he is sent into solitary confinement for many months. Joyce, (Jane Bryan) is a girl friend and also a reporter for the same newspaper that Frank works with and she tries her best to see what she can do to get him free. There is lots of action for a 1939 film and it deals mostly with the insides of a prison and deals with guards who love to mistreat the prisoners. If you like old film classics and these two great actors from the past, don't miss this one.

8 / 10

Full of clichés, but still quite wonderful

This is a great prison film--with lots of unusual twists, a great story and stellar actors. While many of the usual 1930s prison film clichés are definitely present, the overall package is so enjoyable that many will forgive its excesses. I must point out, though, that many modern audiences might laugh a bit at the dialog, but fans of Warner films of the age have come to expect and love these type films.

The movie begins with crusading reporter, Jimmy Cagney, being set up for a crime to stop him from investigating crooked public officials. On this trumped up charge, he is given a hefty prison sentence and is sent to a tough prison. On the way, he meets habitual criminal, George Raft, and they strike up a very bizarre friendship.

At first, Cagney is sure his conviction will be overturned and he's practically a model prisoner. However, after years in jail and no breaks in sight, he agrees to help Raft with a breakout and Cagney's life behind bars gets significantly worse.

Where it all goes from there you'll just need to see for yourself. However, considering that two exceptional tough guy actors head the cast (Cagney and Raft), you know this will be an exciting film--which it certainly is. Now being a Warner product, you know that the prison lingo and action will be a bit hard to believe and you know that, given a chance, Cagney will chew the scenery (he definitely does overact a bit here and there). But considering how entertaining it all is, I can certainly forgive all this. A great film for fans of old time films.

7 / 10

'You Dirty Rats'...

Raft and Cagney, in their only appearance together, doing what they did best. While the plot of this film noir is a little contrived, aren't they all, the pleasure watching true greats perform is a joy and a pleasure.