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Please be advised: the Museum will be open on Wednesday, June 19, 12:00–6:00 p.m. for the Juneteenth holiday.

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The Public Enemy

Saturday, Jan 27 at 3:15 pm

Location: Redstone Theater

Snubbed: James Cagney 

Dir. William A. Wellman. 1931, U.S. 83 mins. 35mm. With James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell. Wellman’s quintessential pre-Code gangster melodrama, in which Tom Powers rises through the criminal underworld of Prohibition-era Chicago, both established a genre template for the sound cinema era and enshrined Cagney as the screen’s most enduring tough guy. Starting out as bootleggers, Tom and his childhood best friend Matt Doyle (Woods) gradually escalate to violence, usurping power from local criminals and unabashedly flaunting their newfound wealth, until clashes with a rival gang change his fate. Though in essence a cautionary tale, Wellman’s vivid, violent, swiftly paced film exemplifies the push-pull of repulsion-attraction that typifies the gangster film to this day, all of it set to the rhythms of the extraordinary Cagney, one of the first great talking picture stars, who would have to wait for the far more reputable—and patriotic—role of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy to win his Oscar. 

NOTE: The January 28 screening will take place in the Bartos Screening Room.

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.