Johnny Eager

Film, Thrillers
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The John Lee Mahin/James Edward Grant script for this gangster movie proposes an intriguingly sleazy scenario about a cold-blooded hoodlum (Taylor), his homosexual whipping-boy (Heflin), and the masochistic society girl (Turner) who can't wait to sample his wares ('I think he'd beat a woman if she made him angry'). Given the full-gloss-and-redemption MGM treatment, it emerges as the sudsiest of soaps. Taylor seduces Turner for his own nefarious purposes, conning her into thinking she killed a man; having discovered l'amour fou, she starts going round the guilt-ridden bend; and after much prodding from the drunkenly philosophising Heflin, Taylor does the far, far better thing. LeRoy handles the grand operatics with a certain style and excellent camerawork from Harold Rosson; but nothing can salvage a film which suggests that its hero went to the bad because he never owned a dog as a boy.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Screenwriter: John Lee Mahin, James Edward Grant
Cast: Robert Taylor
Lana Turner
Edward Arnold
Van Heflin
Robert Sterling
Patricia Dane
Glenda Farrell
Henry O'Neill
Barry Nelson
Charles Dingle
Paul Stewart
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