Never Steal Anything Small

1959

Musical

59
IMDb Rating 6.1 10 194

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 11, 2020

Cast

Bruce Glover as Schrader
Jack Albertson as Sleep-Out Charlie Barnes
James Cagney as Cody Jarett
Shirley Jones as Linda Cabot
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
866.13 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
94 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.57 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
94 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 5 / 10 / 10

The Peculiar Problem of James Cagney's Musicals

In a wonderful movie career - arguably the best ever for a male leading man - Jimmy Cagney made seven musical films. Of these, only two are great musicals. The first was Busby Berkeley's FOOTLIGHT PARADE (1933) wherein Cagney is the harried producer of mini-musicals that are used to introduce films in movie houses. The conclusion of the film, wherein he (in tales) is a drunken sailor in the Far East, "lookin' for my Shanghai Lil" (Ruby Keeler in heavy make-up) is one of the best Berkeley production numbers. Nine years later he became the first actor to win an Oscar for best actor in a musical portraying George M. Cohan in Michael Curtiz's great YANKEE DOODLE DANDY. Those two films document his real greatness as a song and dance man. Some of the gangster films also suggest the dancing ability. Years ago Mikhail Baryshnikov was interviewed on a program about Cagney and pinpointed how in THE PUBLIC ENEMY, when he has killed several enemies in a shoot out, but got badly wounded himself, he walks away wounded in a kind of twisted dance step that illustrates his determination to get away, and shows his agony at the same time. It's a good thing that those aspects are on film, because his other musicals leave much to be desired. In his memoirs, CAGNEY, he admits liking SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT because a dance number enabled him to dance with two hoofers he had long admired. But the whole movie is cheaply made (he was fighting Warners in a contract dispute at the time). There were two films with Doris Day: THE WEST POINT STORY and LOVE OR LEAVE ME. The latter is a wonderful movie biography of singer Ruth Etting and her hellish marriage to gangster Marty "the Gimp" Snyder, and both stars gave first rate performances. But Day is the singer and dancer in the film (Cagney's character's crippled condition makes any dancing impossible, and his personality was not conducive to singing - though he really admires Ruth/Doris's voice). THE WEST POINT STORY has several lively numbers in it, including Cagney in a zoot suit singing about his beloved Brooklyn (as well as later singing about "the kissing rock"). But the music is not the greatest music (although the film is entertaining enough). In THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS he reprises Cohan for a dinner at the Friar's Club, and a song and dance with Bob Hope (as Eddie Foy Sr.) on the dinner table. It's a good number - but only that single scene. Similarly there is a single sequence in THE MAN WITH A THOUSAND FACES, where we see Cagney as Lon Chaney Sr. in vaudeville doing a silent comic bit as a hobo, and ending in a lively dance. Again though, it is only that one scene. Then there is this film: NEVER STEAL ANYTHING SMALL. It would be the last musical he would ever appear in, but it's value is far below that of FOOTLIGHT PARADE and YANKEE DOODLE DANDY. The film is also lesser than THE WEST POINT STORY, THE MAN WITH A THOUSAND FACES, or LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME - it may be as good as SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT. Based on THE DEVIL'S HORNPIPE, a musical by Maxwell Anderson, the plot is interesting. Cagney is playing McIllaney, a crooked labor union leader trying to become the head of the longshoreman's local. His plans are totally unscrupulous, and are complicated by his falling for Shirley Jones, the wife of ultra-scrupulous lawyer Roger Smith, whom Cagney tries to frame so he can marry Jones. He also uses his normal girl friend Winnipeg (Cara Williams) to lure Smith away from Jones. At the conclusion, despite some set-backs, the ever conniving Cagney still looks like a formidable future union leader. The film sounds promising, but it is not memorable as a script or as a source of music. GIRL CRAZY, the Gershwin musical that was filmed with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland had a silly plot about a spoiled young man who is sent to a small town agricultural college as punishment. But the films music soared -including standards like "But Not For Me". That is not the case here. The most memorable tune in this is a number concerning Cagney winning over a reluctant Williams to become a siren and break up Smith's marriage to Jones. They are discussing this on a street, when they pass a car showroom, and Williams' eyes light up - she does want a Ferrari. So they break into a ditty called, "I'm Sorry, I Want a Ferrari". Cagney is properly horrified (his idea of a proper bribe would have been say $500 to $1,000.00 - not $25,000.00 (1950 money)). In the course of the tune, Cagney even suggests that where he comes from Ferrari is considered a "very bad word." They end in a type of dance step on an conveyor line. And (apparently) Cagney is going to have to cough up the Ferrari. I describe this because that is the film's highlight. Perhaps it is his star magnetism at work - he is a terrific performer and screen presence (which is why I'm giving the film a 5). Williams is good too in the number (her enthusiasm for the Italian car almost like she is thinking about good sex). But aside from that scene the movie is forgettable - totally wasting Jones (a terrific musical singer herself) and Smith for that matter. There must have been a curse active - he hit the heights of musical success twice, and touched it a bit three or four times, but just could not duplicate those two great successes. A real pity that.

Reviewed by robin-moss2 5 / 10 / 10

A curiosity, a collector's item, and a seldom screened rarity.

'Never Steal Anything Small' is a curiosity, a collector's item, and a seldom screened rarity. Based on Maxwell Anderson's rejected play 'The Devil's Hornpipe', with new songs by Allie Wrubel, 'Never Steal Anything Small' tells of Jake MacIllaney, an irrepressible rogue who climbs to the top in the Trade Union racket. No trick is too dirty, no strategy too low for this scoundrel, and it fortunate for the movie that he is played by James Cagney whose effervescent screen presence makes the character bearable. It is also fortunate that the married woman for whom Jake develops an uncontrollable yen is played by Shirley Jones. 'Oklahoma!' may have been her break-through movie, but this is her break-out movie. For the first time Shirley was allowed to play a full-grown woman on screen, and she presents a new Shirley Jones, full-bodied and sexy, strong-willed and argumentative. Those who were startled by Shirley's performance in 'Elmer Gantry' cannot have seen 'Never Steal Anything Small'. The movie is a puzzle. Allie Wrubel wrote several other songs which were not used, and Hermes Pan is the choreographer. Yet there is almost no dancing in the film and hardly any songs. This raises the question of whether Universal-International lost their nerve, and tried to make it a non-musical. Certainly Universal is not a studio associated with musicals, least of all in Cinemascope. The film provides a chance to see Robert Wilke and Royal Dano, two regulars in Universal westerns, in a modern setting, plus another view of Cara Williams, Cyd Charisse's unsuccessful rival in 'Meet Me In Las Vegas'. 'Never Steal Anything Small' is such an uneven movie, and the leading character so unprincipled, that many people will dislike the film. However those with a cynical sense of humour or an appetite for Shirley Jones will find much to enjoy.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 5 / 10 / 10

Singing And Dancing On the Waterfront

James Cagney in his autobiography said that he never ran his old films at home with the exception of the musicals. Those he ran continuously and he regretted he didn't do more of them. Which is probably why towards the end of his film career he decided on a musical which had a certain amount of potential, but went sadly awry. Labor Unions were a big news back in the day. The hearings held by the McClellan Committee in the Senate made the doings of the Teamster's Union presidents, David Beck and Jimmy Hoffa front page headlines. There were any number of exposes showing how organized crime was muscling into honest unions. The Taft-Hartley law was a perennial issue back then with Democrats wanting to repeal it and Republicans staunchly in favor. The songs by Allie Wrubel and Maxwell Anderson were singularly unmemorable and the comedy in Never Steal Anything Small is forced. However James Cagney is such a dynamic performer that he's put over far worse. Roger Smith who played a straight arrow lawyer was a protégé of Cagney's back then. He played Cagney's son in Man of a Thousand Faces and after this film with a plug from Cagney to his old boss Jack Warner got cast in the television series 77 Sunset Strip. My favorite in the film is Cara Williams. She's got the part that Joan Blondell or Gladys George would have played opposite Cagney back in the day. Williams is a worthy successor to both those women. There is one true incident in Never Steal Anything Small. At one point Cagney nearly gets acid thrown in his face. There was just such an incident involving columnist Victor Riesel which was more successful and left him blind. But Riesel was a far more noble character than the one Cagney plays here. Though in the end Cagney does show he has some scruples where women are concerned.

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