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Each Dawn I Die

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Each Dawn I Die
Directed byWilliam Keighley
Written byWarren Duff
Norman Reilly Raine
Charles Perry
Based onEach Dawn I Die
1938 novel
by Jerome Odlum
Produced byDavid Lewis
Hal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
StarringJames Cagney
George Raft
Jane Bryan
George Bancroft
Maxie Rosenbloom
CinematographyArthur Edeson
Edited byThomas Richards
Music byMax Steiner
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 22, 1939 (1939-07-22)
Running time
92 min
Box office$1,570,000[1]

Each Dawn I Die is a 1939 gangster film directed by William Keighley and starring James Cagney and George Raft. The plot of Each Dawn I Die involves an investigative reporter who is unjustly thrown in jail and befriends a famous gangster. The film was based on the novel of the same name by Jerome Odlum and the supporting cast features Jane Bryan, George Bancroft, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, and Victor Jory.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • George Raft and James Cagney blooper from Each Dawn I Die (1940)
  • James Cagney and George Raft fight


Plot summary

Frank Ross, a crusading newspaperman on the trail of a crooked district attorney, is framed for manslaughter and sentenced to a maximum 20 years in prison. There, he encounters the notorious Stacey, a lifer who is falsely accused of fatally stabbing a stool pigeon. Though Ross suspects Stacey is actually responsible, he keeps mum. A grateful Stacey agrees to help Ross prove he was framed. They arrange that Stacey be named by Ross in court as guilty of the stool pigeon's death before Stacey escapes the courthouse.

Ross promises to tell no one about the ruse, but antagonizes Stacey by tipping off his old newspaper, so that the courtroom is full of reporters. Realizing that Ross has betrayed him, Stacey escapes court by leaping from a window but makes no effort to find the real culprits responsible for Ross's predicament. Ross, meanwhile, is implicated in the escape and spends five months in solitary confinement, where he is handcuffed to the bars in the dark and fed bread and water once a day. But he repeatedly refuses to implicate Stacy. Later, Ross is promised a chance at parole by the warden if he reforms, but the crooked D. A. has become governor and appointed a crony to head the parole board. Ross's bid for release is turned down, meaning he must wait another five years before he can re-file.

Later, Ross discovers the nickname of the man who framed him: "Polecat." By coincidence, Polecat is currently incarcerated in the same prison. He is a hated jailhouse informant, widely disliked by the inmates. Meanwhile, Stacey, impressed with Ross being a "square guy," decides to go back to prison and force Polecat to confess. Stacey instigates a prison breakout as part of his plan and orders the prisoners to bring him Polecat. The warden is held hostage. As the National Guard successfully quells the escape attempt, the warden witnesses Polecat's confession to framing Ross. Thus, Ross is finally vindicated, Stacey and Polecat are later killed by Guard soldiers, and the governor and head of the parole board are indicted for murder.



The novel was published in 1938.[2] Film rights were bought by Warners who announced it as a vehicle for James Cagney. Edward G. Robinson was discussed as a possible co-star.[3] Robinson was then replaced by John Garfield and Michael Curtiz was going to direct.[4]

Eventually Curtiz was replaced by William Keighley. Fred MacMurray was going to replace Garfield - as the reporter with Cagney to play the gangster. MacMurray became unavailable so Jeffrey Lynn was tested. Eventually George Raft signed to make the movie. He swapped roles so he played the gangster and Cagney played the reporter.[5]

Each Dawn I Die costars Raft and Cagney in their only movie together as leads. Raft had made an unbilled but memorable appearance in a 1932 Cagney vehicle called Taxi! in which he won a dance contest against Cagney, after which he and Cagney brawl. Raft also very briefly "appeared" in Cagney's boxing drama Winner Take All (1932), in a flashback sequence culled from Raft's 1929 film debut Queen of the Night Clubs starring Texas Guinan.[citation needed]



Filmink magazine said "Raft's performance is electric – tightly wound, dialogue trimmed, using his eyes."[6]

Box office

The film was one of Warner Bros most popular films in 1939.[7] According to studio records it earned $1,111,000 domestically and $459,000 foreign.[1]

It led to George Raft being offered a long-term contract by Warner Bros.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 19 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. ^ BEATRICE SHERMAN, MABEL L ROSSBACH, PERCY HUTCHISON, EDITH H WALTON, FRED T MARSH, LOUIS, KRONENBERGER, HAROLD STRAUSS. (1938, Apr 17). "In the fine summer weather" and other recent works of fiction New York Times
  3. ^ Schallert, E. (1938, May 04). "Katharine Hepburn, R.-K.-O. part company" Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ Special to The New York Times. (1938, Aug 11). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD" New York Times
  5. ^ Special to The New York Times. (1939, Jan 31). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD" New York Times
  6. ^ Vagg, Stephen (February 9, 2020). "Why Stars Stop Being Stars: George Raft". Filmink.
  7. ^ "1939 Hollywood Toppers". Variety. 3 January 1940. p. 28.
  8. ^ Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 84

External links

This page was last edited on 19 February 2023, at 12:54
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