In G Men, Warner Bros. "bad boy" James Cagney plays James "Brick" Davis, a young lawyer whose education has been financed by soft-hearted racketeer McKay (William Harrigan). When Cagney's best pal, detective Eddie Buchanan (Regis Toomey), is killed in a gangland shooting, James decides to become a G-Man. Though scrupulously honest, Davis is looked upon with suspicion by his fellow agents because of his association with the crooked McKay. He proves he's a "good guy" when his former girlfriend, Jean Ann Dvorak, now the wife of mobster Brad Collins (Barton MacLane), tips him off to a "Little Bohemia"-style gangster hideaway. Jean later sacrifices her own life to help James rescue his new girl, nurse Kay McCord (Margaret Lindsay), from the vengeful Collins. Based on Gregory Miller's book Public Enemy No. 1, G-Men was reissued in 1949, with an added prologue featuring David Brian as an FBI trainer who advises his students not to laugh at the old-fashioned costumes and slang in the 1935 film; seen today, it is Brian's superfluous opening comments that seem hopelessly dated, while the film itself is as exciting and entertaining as ever.
by Hal Erickson synopsis