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Each Dawn I Die
Each Dawn I Die
Actors: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan, James Cagney, George Raft, Sybil Jason
Directors: Bobby Connolly, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, William Keighley
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2006     1hr 32min

Although innocent, reporter Frank Ross is found guilty of murder and is sent to jail. While his friends at the newspaper try to find out who framed him, Frank gets hardened by prison life and his optimism turns into bitter...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan, James Cagney, George Raft, Sybil Jason
Directors: Bobby Connolly, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, William Keighley
Creators: Charles Perry, Crane Wilbur, Jack Miller, Jerome Odlum
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/18/2006
Original Release Date: 08/19/1939
Theatrical Release Date: 08/19/1939
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 32min
Screens: Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

"Throw me back in the hole, I can take it"
Vincent Tesi | Brick, New Jersey | 07/17/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"William Keighley's Each Dawn I Die set the tone for the prison genre. Oz it is not, but for 1939, Each Dawn I Die presents viewer insights to the jargon, code of ethics, and behavior of hardened convicts. John Wray as Pete the prison guard barks through his lines like a rattled pit bull. George Raft, who seemed to be forever dressed in prison garb, plays Stacey a "lifer" who is sprung to aid newsreporter Ross (James Cagney) who has been framed for manslaughter. Cagney shows glimpses of his emotional explosiveness as Ross breaks down befoe a parole board. Raft is in prime form cooly delivering lines that would make Edward G. Robinson proud. The prison break scenes are shot and edited realistically and provide reference points for future prison films such as Brute Force and Caged. Still other scenes are highly improbable and mirorred in Hollywood fare. ( Stacey giving himself up in front of the penitentiary, and the warden's mushy sentimentality to name just two). These shortcomings restricted Each Dawn I Die from attaining a higher echelon among crime films. Still the sixty-one year old film retains its credibility among the genre and is worth owning."
scotsladdie | 01/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The title refers to what many prison inmates feel when they awaken in the morning: it's a timeless - albeit poetic - metaphor. As a pugnacious reporter, Cagney unearths evidence that will put some hight-level politicians in jail. Before he can get his material into print, he is abducted, knocked unconscious and put into a car, booze poured over him & the vehicle sent careening down the street where it runs over a man and kills him. The brutal frame-up works: Cagney is convicted of manslaughter and is sent to prison, where he befriends smooth crook George Raft (as "Hood" Stacey), a crime boss. On the train to the Big House, Raft smiles and jokingly asks Cagney to write a piece about him - cause he likes his name in the paper...Once inside Rocky Point, Cagney pleads again and again for parole, which is repeatedly denied him...Cagney and Raft had known each other in vaudeville back in the late twenties. Raft, a real-life tough guy had various connections with hoodlums and bootleggers: Owney Madden & Joe Adonis to name a couple. Raft even picked up their own particular mannerisms and he had a very short fuse in real life. But Raft got along well with Cagney: advantageously making this film a blockbuster hit in its day: owing to a tight script and the electric acting of the leads, this one is far above average in the category of crime films."
Deep film, filled with emotion, action, love, and pain.
Douglas M | 07/17/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film is about a man who was framed and then put in jail. It shows his struggle to bring the real criminals to justice. Definately a classic!"
Best of the Prison Films
Douglas M | 08/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Each Dawn I Die", released in 1939, is the best of the prison films which Warner Brothers made in the thirties. Even the title is fantastic. James Cagney plays a reporter working for a newspaper who is exposing the politicians who run the rackets. Cagney is framed, convicted and sent to prison for 10 years as retaliation. There, he meets hardened criminal George Raft.

The film was produced by Hal Wallis and benefits from a bigger budget than most of its predecessors. There is a more detailed and convincing expose of prison life than usual and cliches are avoided. You get a real feel for the hopelessness and boredom of the inmates. Cagney is subdued and underplays - very effective. George Raft, usually a wooden and stiff actor, rises to Cagney's level. Their friendship becomes very touching. The film develops real suspense as you wonder if Cagney will ever be released. Jane Bryan plays Cagney's girlfriend with a small but key part in the plot. Bryan was a very talented actress on the Warner's payroll who retired early when she married. She invests the part with great depth and is touching.

The print is excellent and the DVD has lots of extras, including a really worthwhile commentary by Haden Guest; at last, a commentator with a pleasant voice who avoids trivial biographical details and really observes the film as it unfolds. A contemporary featurette documentary on the language of the gangster film is included but it is by far the weakest in this series - a lot of historians/actors etc saying which lines they liked and who they imitated as children - yawn! There is also another of the Warner's blooper shorts which are entertaining, particularly if you know the actors on the studio payroll then. "A Day at San Anita" is is technicolour short film set around the race track. It stars the nauseating Shirley Temple contemporary Sybil Jason who is cloying in the worst child star sense. The colour is excellent and there is some interest in the shots of stars such as Bette Davis and then husband Harmon Nelson and Ruby Keeler with Al Jolson. The cartoon, which definitely does not date to 1939, is OK with a rooster that may have developed into Foghorn Leghorn. Finally, the Lux Radio version of the film is included with Franchot Tone replacing Cagney. These radio versions really only have historical interest.

The DVD is excellent value, particularly if purchased as part of the Warner's Tough Guys Collection."