|Robert Ivers and Georgann Johnson|
This is the only film ever directed by James Cagney. Kyle Niles (Robert Ivers) is a hit man hired to kill a builder and his secretary. His contact, Bahrwell (Jacques Aubuchon of Twenty Plus Two), makes the mistake of giving Niles marked money in the hopes he'll be arrested. As Ivers makes his way to Bahrwell and his employer, a man known only as A.T. (Richard Hale), he encounters Glory Hamilton (Georgann Johnson), whose boyfriend, Stan, is a cop (William Bishop of Harriet Craig). Glory winds up as Niles' not necessarily unwilling hostage, although her supposed motives are to save Stan's life. The acting is solid in this picture, which is distinguished only in the fact that Cagney directed it -- it is not an auspicious directorial debut. Both Ivers and Johnson were trumpeted as bright new stars in Cagney's introduction to the film, although both, especially Johnson, had several previous credits. They were talented actors but neither became a star. Johnson's rather pudgy face lacked true beauty, but she wound up a well-recognized character actress with many credits. Ivers did mostly television work; he looked like a cross between Jack Kelly and Richard Widmark. The character of Bahrwell is obviously meant to be homosexual, with snide references throughout the film. Hale offers his usual portrait of an absolutely hateful old man; he had a great many credits. Yvette Vickers [What's the Matter with Helen?] offers her typically vivid portrayal of the landlord's daughter in Niles' apartment house. The script has some stupid and psychologically dubious moments given what we know about sociopaths, and Glory's behavior is often ridiculous.
Verdict: Cagney wisely stuck to acting after this. **1/2.