Sinner's Holiday (1930)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Melodrama  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Based on the play Penny Arcade, Sinner's Holiday marked the film debut of James Cagney. After seeing the performance on Broadway, Al Jolson bought the rights to the play and sold it to Warner Bros. under the agreement that both Cagney and co-star Joan Blondell reprise their stage roles for the screen. The story concerns an overprotective mother, Ma Delano (Lucille LaVerne), who runs a penny arcade in Coney Island and lives with her children: Harry (James Cagney), Joe (Ray Gallagher), and Jennie (Evelyn Knapp). Harry works for a sideshow ran by liquor-dealing gangster Mitch McKane (Warren B. Hymer), who wants to date Jennie. Grant Withers plays Angel, Harry's co-worker and the hero that saves Jennie from Mitch's advances. When Mitch goes to jail, Harry takes over his shady liquor business and keeps the extra money for himself, leading to a deadly gunfight. When he's accused of murder, Harry begs his mother for protection and she frames Angel with the weapon out of a bizarrely obsessive love for her son. Cagney would go on to play other tough-guy characters with overly loving mothers in his next film, The Public Enemy

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Keywords

arcade [game], arrest, bootlegging, confession [criminal], conflict, coward, daughter, domination [influence], employee, family, investigation, killing, love, mother, murder, operator, owner, police, romance, sideshow, son, sweetheart, thug, weapons, witness, heat, holiday, play [recreation], stage