"Angels With Dirty Faces": My Sad Tale



So about a year ago, I started thinking about the movie ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES. I'd seen it as a kid — back when you could see old 1930s movies playing on local TV on Saturday afternoons — and the ending, with Jimmy Cagney pleading for his criminal life, made a big impression on me. Maybe my son would find it interesting too.

Only...

In this era of streaming video, this classic movie is ... completely unavailable for streaming. It's not available, for purchase anyway, on Amazon or iTunes, and it's not on the Hulu or Netflix libraries. It's what made me decide to buy a DVD player after years of being a streaming-only consumer.

So.

Today, I go to my local video store — Lawrence has one, still! — find the movie in the classics section, rent it and bring it home.

Tonight, my wife and I sit down to watch it. Get about a half-hour in — to a critical, can't-skip scene where Cagney's character meets the Dead-End Kids, and it freezes, utterly.

So. The movie still isn't available to stream. New DVDs of it cost more than $30 on Amazon, which feels a bit steep. I'm starting to think I'll never get to see the whole movie again.

It's weird though. We're in an era where our entertainment options are plentiful. But finding a decent copy of this not-really-obscure movie is turning out to be a real chore. Turns out there is still scarcity, of a sorts, in our info-flooded world.

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