7.1/10
2,477
50 user 21 critic

Johnny Eager (1941)

The step-daughter of a district attorney falls in love with a gangster on parole who her father originally imprisoned.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (screen play), James Edward Grant (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Taylor ... Johnny Eager
Lana Turner ... Lisbeth Bard
Edward Arnold ... John Benson Farrell
Van Heflin ... Jeff Hartnett
Robert Sterling ... Jimmy Courtney
Patricia Dane ... Garnet
Glenda Farrell ... Mae Blythe
Henry O'Neill ... Mr. Verne
Diana Lewis ... Judy Sanford
Barry Nelson ... Lew Rankin
Charles Dingle ... Marco
Paul Stewart ... Julio
Cy Kendall ... Halligan
Don Costello ... Billiken
Lou Lubin ... Benjy
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Storyline

Ruthless hood Johnny Eager is pretending to his parole officer that he has chucked the rackets and is working as a taxi driver. In fact, he's as deep into crime as he ever was and desperately needs official permission to open his new dog racing track. When he meets up with Lisbeth Bard, the step-daughter of the district attorney, he finds she is not only stunning but a possible way to get his permit. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Robert Taylor 'N Lana Turner - They're Dynamite in JOHNNY EAGER See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Johnny Eager See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$651,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Garnet tells Johnny that Jeff has called him "Herod Agrippa", he is referring to the last King of Judea who reigned from A.D. 41-44. She also states Jeff called her Johnny's "inamorata", which is from the Spanish feminine noun ("enamorada") for "lover". See more »

Goofs

Johnny Eager is posing as a cab driver and talks to his parole officer about missing the old ways and his fancy clothes, etc. Then several times he changes his cabby jacket and tie only to switch back to his gangster persona. He doesn't change his shoes, pants or the shirts he is wearing that have very fancy cuff links which makes the disguise less plausible. See more »

Quotes

Jeff Hartnett: Does that young woman ever do anything besides make exits?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in We Must Have Music (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Melancholy
(1911) (uncredited)
(Also known as "Melancholy Baby" and "My Melancholy Baby")
Music by Ernie Burnett
Played during the opening and closing credits
Played as dance music by the band at Tony Luce's place
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very good acting, though I agree it's a bit "plot heavy"
16 September 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

If this film hadn't been made at MGM, it probably would be considered a good example of Film Noir. However, given that the film is very polished, has somewhat less dark dialog, features big-name actors and is rather pretty to look at, I would consider this almost like "Film Noir-Lite". This isn't necessarily a complaint--it is a good film. However, the film just doesn't have that grittiness to it you'd expect for the genre--though all the actors in it did a very good job.

The film stars Robert Taylor as the mobster "Johnny"--quite a departure from his 1930s "pretty boy" image. Here, he pretends to be a parolee going straight, but he's still in charge of the local mob and everyone but Taylor's dim-witted parole officer can see this. The man especially aware of just how dirty Taylor is happens to be the father (Edward Arnold) of the girl (Lana Turner) Taylor is pursuing. He's the district attorney who hates Taylor and yet is powerless to stop his impetuous girl from throwing her life away on the mug. Why she loves Taylor is a bit hard to follow. Sure, he's very handsome and charming, but he's also extremely selfish and just plain bad! Johnny is usually accompanied by either Van Heflin, as his alcoholic and well-educated sidekick, or Paul Stewart, who oddly plays a Hispanic! Stewart made a long career out of playing mobsters and why they insisted on sticking this bizarre accent on him is beyond me--he's plenty interesting and menacing already.

There are many, many twists and turns in the film--too many to discuss here. However, and important one is a sleazy set-up where Johnny convinces his girl that she killed someone in order to give him something with which to blackmail her father!! This and his subsequent actions serve to convince Heflin and the audience that Johnny has no soul--though late in the film he comes to actually feel guilt for destroying Lana and he makes amends in a very rousing and violent finale.

As I said, the acting was extremely good as was the dialog. About the only negatives were the silly accent by Stewart and the somewhat convoluted and overly complicated plot. Still, it's a very good flick and one that old film buffs will enjoy.


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