Your RDA of Irony

Eugene at the Movies

Yesterday, I indulged my Turner Classic Movie addiction by watching “Angels With Dirty Faces.”  Yes, I had seen the 1938 classic before; but that was so long ago that most of the cast was still alive then.  I imagine that you are familiar with the film, whether having actually it seen or the many parodies and commercials it inspired.  Here, for any Amish hermits among you, here is a summary:

Two roughneck teenagers from the tenements of New York take divergent paths while maintaining a devoted friendship.  One becomes the gangster James Cagney while the other becomes the priest Pat O’Brien.   Fearing that Cagney’s charisma will have a corrupting effect on the teenage boys in the parish, O’Brien helps send his friend to the electric chair.  Don’t worry–it never effects their friendship; in fact, Cagney guns down Humphrey Bogart for even suggesting that Father O’Brien be rubbed out.  Yes, the plot seems ridiculous but Cagney’s charisma has such a corrupting effect on the audience that we are irretrievably hooked.

Of course, viewing the film in a modern perspective, we are entitled to some doubts.  The gangster may be corrupting the Dead End Kids with booze and gambling; but that would be quite innocuous compared to what the priest might be doing.  (Pat O’Brien and Huntz Hall–no, the very image defies description…)

And, if the film were made today, the sociopathic Irish kid would forgo a more respectable life of crime and be a commentator on Fox.

 p.s. Let’s not forget the historic significance of this day:  http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2008/12/05/finding-a-good-scapegoat/

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