Flirting with Danger (June 5, 1955)

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The Big Bluff
 

Released on December 1, 1934: Three hot shot powder mixers that make dynamite .

Directed by Vin Moore

The Actors: Robert Armstrong (Bob Owens), Edgar Kennedy (Jimmie Pierson), William Cagney (William 'Lucky' Davis), Maria Alba (Rosita), Marion Burns (Marian Leslie), Ernest Hilliard (James E. Dawson), Wilhelm von Brincken (Von Kruger), Guy Usher (James E. Fenton), Gino Corrado (Captain Garcia), Edward Hearn (San Rico plant supervisor), Carol Tevis (Cecilia, stuttering blonde), Margaret La Marr (unknown), Bud Jamison (cafe customer vocalist), Leonard Kibrick (little Bill), Edward LeSaint (American Consul in San Rico), Robert McKenzie (Pop, night watchman), Frank O'Connor (explosives blaster), Julian Rivero (Rosita's lawyer), Harry Semels (Spainish waiter), Frank Yaconelli (Spainish man in cafe).

 

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This light romp into the dangerous world of creating custom explosives features leading man Robert Armstrong, character actor Edgar Kennedy, and William Cagney. William Cagney, brother of famous James Cagney, only acted in seven films, and then became the personal manager and sometimes producer for his more famous brother. He produced one of my favorite James Cagney films, that also featured their sister Jeanne Cagney, The Time of Your Life - 1948.

In this flick the three men are 'mixers' - men that would custom-mix explosives for mining companies. They are men who face death every day and laugh at it. They all search for a formula that will produce more bang for the powder. Early in this feature 'Lucky' William falls for a secretary at the company, and they get very serious. The other two guys determine that a steady woman will be very dangerous for William, and they manage to break them up, just as they are all preparing to go to South America to work at one of the company's plants there. But with a movie-like twist of fate, Marian, Lucky's girl, is sent down on the same job to be the boss' liaison; and William has a stormy relationship with Marian because neither of them know that the other two guys have sabotaged their relationship.

Once in San Rico, the story comes to a head when the boys go to work early one morning after a night on the town. They have a world class hangover, and decide to cure it by drinking a few hairs of the dog, and soon they are very drunk. They don't know that this day is a national holiday in San Rico, and everyone else is off work to help celebrate. When our drunk buddies hear the fireworks they are convinced that there is a revolution happening, and they mix some explosives to protect the plant and bomb the revolutionaries. They drunkenly go out to the streets with their bombs and get arrested for disrupting the celebration and blowing up the explosives factory. In court, they are faced with life in prison in San Rico if a miracle doesn't happen soon.

Pop your white kernel popcorn, drizzle plenty of warm melted butter on it, and enjoy this light comedy about three working class men who tackle their jobs and their women and the world with fun and ferocity, right up to the movie-miracle ending, as the boys flirt with danger.