Great Guy


1h 15m 1937

Brief Synopsis

It's the New York Department of Weights and Measures vs. a systematic effort to cheat the public by giving them less product than they pay for...organized by crooked city alderman Marty Cavanaugh, who put the last chief deputy inspector in the hospital. The new man, pugnacious Johnny Cave, steps on the toes of influential merchants and gets increasing pressure, both political and strong-arm, to desist. Will the luck (if not the pluck) of the Irish pull him through?

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 2, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Douglas MacLean Productions, Inc.; Grand National Films, Inc.
Distribution Company
Grand National Films, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the stories "Full Measure," "Johnny Cave Goes Subtle" and "Larceny on the Right" by James Edward Grant in The Saturday Evening Post (24 Jun 1933, 17 Mar 1934, 1 Sep 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

When Joel Green, head of the Department of Weights and Measures, is nearly killed in a car accident by corrupt politician Marty Cavanaugh, ex-prizefighter Johnny Cave replaces him. Facing a city-wide racket of faulty measures, Johnny fines merchants who are cheating the public and ignores the customary bribes and threats of Cavanaugh's men. The night after he refuses a job offer from Cavanaugh, Johnny is abducted. He wakes up, stinking of alcohol, in the gutter with his hair dyed red. In addition, Johnny is falsely accused of theft. Next, the mayor, in league with Cavanaugh, offers Johnny a high paying job, but he again refuses. When Johnny learns that Abel Canning, the boss of Johnny's fiancée, Janet Henry, has ordered that the matron of the local orphanage, Mrs. Ogilvie, be fired, Johnny visits her and learns that the orphanage has been receiving half-shipments of food. With evidence that Canning has been grafting state funds, Johnny has a newspaper headline printed that implicates Canning. Ex-wrester Burton, posing as a city prosecutor, knocks Johnny out and steals his evidence in order to blackmail Canning. After Canning publicly accuses Johnny of blackmail, Janet breaks their engagement. That night, Canning pays Burton for the key to his apartment, and Canning and Cavanaugh locate the papers just as Johnny arrives. Thanks to Janet's call to the police, the two men are arrested before Canning can burn the evidence, and Johnny presents Janet her wedding ring.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 2, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Douglas MacLean Productions, Inc.; Grand National Films, Inc.
Distribution Company
Grand National Films, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the stories "Full Measure," "Johnny Cave Goes Subtle" and "Larceny on the Right" by James Edward Grant in The Saturday Evening Post (24 Jun 1933, 17 Mar 1934, 1 Sep 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

Trivia

This was James Cagney's first film in more than 11 months because of litigation following the termination of his contract at Warner Bros.

When James Cagney swung at Joe Sawyer in the party scene, Sawyer jerked back his head, which hit actor Jack Perry (I), who was one of the party guests, and broke his nose.

Notes

Charles M. Fuller, technical adviser for this film, was the Los Angeles County Sealer of Weights and Measures. The New York Times review credits Henry McCarty and Harry Ruskin with screenplay and dialogue, and Horace McCoy with additional dialogue, although McCoy receives no credit on the film itself or in any other contemporary reviews. A news item in Daily Variety on September 29, 1936 states that author James Edward Grant would be writing the film's screenplay with Henry Johnson; however, Grant does not receive screenplay credit on the screen or in reviews. Variety erroneously credits Grace Goodall as "Mrs. Ogilvie" and Russell Hicks as "Joel Green." According to Motion Picture Herald, following the preview, which was 75 minutes in length, the producer announced that sequences which failed to hold that audience would be eliminated. This film marked James Cagney's return to the screen after a year layoff due to litigation following the termination of his contract at Warner Bros. According to Hollywood Reporter, Cagney received many telegrams of congratulations upon his return. Hollywood Reporter reported on November 18, 1936 that Cagney had broken Jack Perry's nose "by proxy" the previous day during filming when he had swung at actor Joe Sawyer, causing him to jerk back and strike Perry in the nose.