Cast & Crew
Olivia De Havilland
Two of Ma O'Hara's three sons have solid jobs. Mike is a fireman and Pat is a policeman, but Danny, Ma's favorite because he is the youngest, is an occasional fight promoter who has never handled a successful boxer. Pat tries to talk Danny into taking the police exam, because he is planning to marry Lucille Jackson, his captain's daughter, and is worried that the family will not be able to get along without his salary. Danny is not interested, however, having discovered a new fighter, Carbarn Hammerschlog, who comes out slugging whenever he hears a bell. Anxious for Lucille to meet his mother, Pat asks her home to dinner, but Danny meets her first, by accident, when he and Carbarn help her change a flat tire. Lucille and Ma become friends right away, but Lucille causes her some distress when she admits that Pat has not asked her to marry him. When Pat tries to change out of his uniform, he discovers that Danny has loaned his best suit to Carbarn and then, to add insult to injury, he happens to be standing next to Carbarn when a bell rings and Carbarn knocks him out. With the dinner ruined, Danny offers to take Lucille home, and they stop along the way for an intimate dinner. Later, Lucille agrees to be Pat's date at the Fireman's Ball, but she cannot stay away from Danny. Pat sees them kissing and is so hurt that he plans to leave home until Danny moves out himself. Upset at having come between the two brothers, Lucille visits Danny at the gym to tell him she is not in love with him. Danny finally gets Carbarn a fight with the champion. Before the fight, Carbarn gets drunk while trying to kill a toothache with a bottle of gin, and Danny must go on in his place. He takes a beating, but keeps on fighting. At Ma's insistence, Pat gets into Danny's corner to tell him that Lucille does love him. Inspired, Danny defeats the champ and is reunited with his brother and Lucille.
Olivia De Havilland
J. Farrell Mcdonald
The Irish in Us
When James Cagney made The Irish in Us, he was an established star at Warner Bros. and had recently been named one of the "Top Ten Moneymakers" in Hollywood. The Irish in Us was one of three Cagney films released in 1935. It was the sort of film Cagney referred to in his 1976 autobiography Cagney by Cagney as a "cuff opera," referring to the ad-libbed "off-the-cuff" dialogue that he and the other actors would often contribute to certain scenes. "I recall a scene [in The Irish in Us] where Frank McHugh comes back from a formal affair," says Cagney in his book. "He was wearing a full dress suit with a white cap. Pat looks him over and says, 'You didn't wear that cap to the ball, did you?' Frank ad-libbed the reply: 'Oh, I know-it should have been black.'" Director Lloyd Bacon encouraged such improvising throughout the filming as a way to beef up the underdeveloped screenplay.
The Irish in Us was a picture that Cagney had some reservations about making. According to author Michael Freedland in his 1975 biography Cagney, "Every day [Lloyd Bacon] would call out to Jimmy and Pat O'Brien: 'Boys, the rushes are great.' He did it so often that an exasperated Cagney finally rounded on Bacon: 'Listen, Lloyd. If the rushes are so great why don't we forget the picture and release the rushes?'"
Cagney's performance and the strong supporting cast make watching The Irish in Us a pleasure. Cagney's frequent co-star and close friend Pat O'Brien brings depth to his role as the straight-as-an-arrow police officer brother. A teenaged Olivia de Havilland is lovely and memorable in one of her earliest screen roles as Cagney's love interest, Lucille.
The Irish in Us received mixed reviews upon its release, though it still went on to earn a substantial profit. "Lloyd Bacon, no mean kidder himself," said the New York Times review, "loves this type of hoke comedy, as does Cagney, and he has put on the pressure for laughs here. So much so that audience response rolls from one gag on top another, several times drowning the second entry. If it's laughs they're looking for, this is it."
Producer: Samuel Bischoff (uncredited)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
Screenplay: Earl Baldwin; Frank Orsatti (story)
Cinematography: George Barnes
Art Direction: Esdras Hartley
Music: M.K. Jerome, Bernhard Kaun, Heinz Roemheld (all uncredited)
Film Editing: James Gibbon
Cast: James Cagney (Danny O'Hara), Pat O'Brien (Pat O'Hara), Olivia de Havilland (Lucille Jackson), Allen Jenkins (Michael 'Mike' O'Hara), Mary Gordon (Ma O'Hara), J. Farrell McDonald (Captain Jackson).
BW-84m. Closed captioning.
by Andrea Passafiume
The Irish in Us
A modern source notes that publicity for this film focused on the fact that James Cagney did his own boxing. Modern sources add the following crew credits: Gowns Orry-Kelly; Makeup artist Perc Westmore; and Unit Manager Bob Fellows. Modern sources list Bess Flowers in the part of "Lady in ring."