Jimmy the Gent (film)

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Jimmy the Gent
Jimmy the Gent , film poster.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Robert Lord
Screenplay by Bertram Millhauser
Story by Ray Nazarro
Laird Doyle
Starring James Cagney
Bette Davis
Music by Bernhard Kaun
Cinematography Ira H. Morgan
Edited by Thomas Richards
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • March 17, 1934 (1934-03-17)
Running time
67 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Jimmy the Gent is a 1934 American Pre-Code comedy-crime film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring James Cagney and Bette Davis and featuring Allen Jenkins. It was the first pairing of Cagney and Davis, who would reunite for The Bride Came C.O.D. seven years later.

The screenplay by Bertram Millhauser was based on the story "The Heir Chaser" by Ray Nazarro and Laird Doyle.


The unscrupulous Jimmy Corrigan (James Cagney), runs an agency that searches for heirs of those who have died without leaving a will, and often provides phony claimants in order to collect his fee. When his former girlfriend Joan Martin (Bette Davis), who left him to due his lack of ethics, accepts a position at the allegedly legitimate firm owned by Charles Wallingham (Alan Dinehart), Corrigan investigates Wallingham's background and discovers his rival is even more duplicitous than he is. He exposes Wallingham as a phony and promises to go straight if Joan will come back to him.



Prior to its release, the film's working titles were Blondes and Bonds and The Heir Chaser.[1]

Both Cagney and Davis considered Jimmy the Gent to be a throwaway studio assembly-line quickie film, and neither was happy about the assignment.[2] Cagney had the sides of his head shaved for the film, without the knowledge of either director Michael Curtiz or studio boss Hal B. Wallis. Curtiz was stunned when he saw the haircut, and Wallis took it personally. Bette Davis did not appreciate it either, and refused to have publicity pictures taken with Cagney.[2]


Jimmy the Gent did well at the box office,[2] and the critical response was positive as well. In his review in The New York Times, Mordaunt Hall described the film as "a brisk, slangy piece of work in which Mr. Cagney is as much of a pepper-pot as ever ... [he] tackles the barbed argot of his lines with speed and force ... Bette Davis is attractive and capable as Joan."[3] Variety said, "Jimmy the Gent ... [is] expert, thorough-going, typically Cagney ... and good for plenty of laughs."[4]


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