Hard to Handle (1933) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hard to Handle (1933)





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Hard to Handle stars James Cagney as a fast-talking promoter who pounces upon every current fad and foible to make a quick buck. He promotes marathon dances (where spectators feel cheated because no one drops dead), crash diets, reducing creams and treasure contests, finagling his way into the confidence of high rollers and money men. In a cute "inside" joke harking back to a choice Cagney moment in The Public Enemy, our hero at one point takes up the promotion of grapefruits! Like most conners, Cagney isn't aware when he is being conned himself, and he falls victim to his marathon-dance business partner, who absconds with the winnings. The contest winner is pretty Mary Brian, whose mother (Ruth Donnelly) tries to extract payment by forcing Cagney to marry her daughter. He does, but only after eight reels of high-pressure wheeling and dealing. In the tradition of Jimmy Cagney's other early-1930s, Hard to Handle is socked over by the energetic insouciance of its star.

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James Cagney
as Myron C. 'Lefty' Merrill
Mary Brian
as Ruth Waters
Ruth Donnelly
as Lil Waters
Claire Dodd
as Marlene Reeves
Allen Jenkins
as Radio Announcer
Gavin Gordon
as John Hayden
Emma Dunn
as Mrs. Hawks the Landlady
Robert McWade
as Charles Reeves
John Sheehan
as Ed McGrath
Matt McHugh
as Joe Goetz
Louise Mackintosh
as Mrs. Weston Parks
Bess Flowers
as Merrill's secretary
Lew Kelly
as Hash Slinger
Berton Churchill
as Col. Wells
Harry Holman
as Colonel's associate
Grace Hayle
as Fat lady with vanishing cream
G. Pat Collins
as Dance Judge
Douglass Dumbrille
as District Attorney
William Strauss
as Antique dealer
Stanley Smith
as Vocalist
Walter Walker
as Bedford College Representative
Mary Doran
as Dance Contestant
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