Any film that starts with Cagney in a lavender bath is gonna be good.
Fun, speedy little picture, starring our bathing beauty as Danny, a ne'er-do-well gangster ready to "make good", and Ralph Bellamy as McLean, the editor who gives him that chance - little knowing what was in store. You can take the man out of the business, but you can't take the business out of the man: Cagney states that his camera "works just like a gun, trigger and all". (Uh oh.) Alice White is the love interest here, and I remember reading she was being marketed as the new Clara Bow (who was breaking down by this time); she's cute, and appropriately vivacious, but she's no Clara. Patricia Ellis plays the "good girl", the one for which Cagney wants to better himself, and she does so with aplomb.
Quick-thinking, fast-talking (this was early 30s Warner Bros after all), tense and exciting and smarmy as hell. A moment of sweetness amongst the grit: watch Cagney towards the end, when he's alone in the apartment. He fills this brief wordless scene with such beauty of movement it's almost like dance.
For those confused by the movie's last line, it's "vass you dere, Charlie?", a catchphrase from a popular radio show of the time. James Lileks goes into detail about it in his review, which is much better (and funnier) than mine.
I give this one: