James Cagney grapefruit scene  James Cagney and his evil gangster thug smile Jean Harlow image        Jean Harlow, the original blonde bombshell 




James Cagney made a big impression in his starmaking role as Tom Powers in The Public Enemy in 1931.  The top scene that everyone talked about was the so-called grapefruit scene, in which he shoved a grapefruit into Mae Clark's face.  That only last a few seconds, and it's really fairly mild.  But in 1931, the pure cold disrespect of it really got people's attention. Apparently, for years it was common for restaurant patrons seeing Cagney to order grapefruit sent to his table, which he was generally quite happy to eat.  

That being such a big deal, they tried to up the ante a couple of years later with Lady Killer.  Rather than simply shoving some fruit in the girl's face, he drags the woman by the hair of her head across two rooms and bodily throws her out into the hallway.  It didn't make near the impression on audiences, but here are a few images from that sequence.













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