“That guy of yours thinks ’cause he’s riding in a one-seater he’s riding alone — he doesn’t know that you’re covering every lap of every race with him!”
Champion car racer Joe Greer (James Cagney) tries to protect his younger brother Eddie (Eric Linden) from a life of booze, cars, and women. But Eddie is determined to become a racer, and soon falls in love with the friend (Joan Blondell) of Joe’s girlfriend, Lee (Ann Dvorak).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Ann Dvorak Films
- Car Racing
- Downward Spiral
- Howard Hawks Films
- Jimmy Cagney Films
- Joan Blondell Films
- Maureen O’Sullivan Films
- Morality Police
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this early Howard Hawks film — while ostensibly yet another movie about “men of action” — is actually a “tribute to the women who stick by men in dangerous professions, and, when they are finally treated as equals, give the men needed support, love, and direction.” Indeed, The Crowd Roars gives enormous credence to the age-old dictum that behind every successful man is a woman: without the unconditional love and support of his selfless girlfriend, Cagney quickly goes downhill; and once Linden falls in love with Blondell, his fame and fortune skyrocket. Cagney is fine here in one of his earliest leading roles, but it’s Joan Blondell who truly shines: this wonderful comedic actress enlivens every film she’s in, including this one.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- James Cagney as the well-meaning but wrong-headed racer
- Joan Blondell as Eddie’s love interest
- Ann Dvorak as Joe’s hopelessly loyal girlfriend
- An interesting time-capsule glimpse at early motor car racing
No, though it’s a must for fans of Jimmy Cagney and/or Joan Blondell.