Order for Customer

Your shopping basket is empty. Shopping basket

The Doorway to Hell + Picture Snatcher

Brash, charismatic tough-guy James Cagney made his name in these gritty, fast-paced, realistic Warner Bros. Depression-era gangster melodramas.

The Doorway to Hell

  • Director Archie Mayo
  • Producer Darryl F Zanuck
  • Screenwriter George Rosener
  • With Lew Ayres, James Cagney, Dorothy Mathews
  • USA 1930
  • 78 mins
  • Sales Library of Congress

There was never a better match between studio and contract artist than Warner Bros. and brash James Cagney in the so-called Pre-Code era of 1930s Hollywood, when gritty, often salacious, Depression-themed stories were ‘torn from today’s headlines’. Actor/dancer Cagney arrived at the studio from vaudeville and the Broadway stage, stealing scenes in The Doorway to Hell, as second banana to Lew Ayres’ lead gangster.

Picture Snatcher

  • Director Lloyd Bacon
  • Screenwriters Allen Rivkin, PJ Wolfson, Ben Markson
  • With James Cagney, Ralph Bellamy, Patricia Ellis
  • USA 1933
  • 77 mins
  • Sales Library of Congress

Cagney’s energy and magnetism took him rapidly to the top of the cast list in pugnacious tough-guy roles such as his turn here as a gangster-turned-newspaper photographer, simply exchanging his handgun for a camera. The Library of Congress in Washington has preserved both this film and Doorway from original camera negatives.

Michael Mashon

Festival calendar


Digital edition programme
Films A-Z
Countries A-Z
Programme changes

Enjoy a world of benefits with BFI Cinema Membership.

Read more



Follow the BFI London Film Festival live blog.

Read more


Promotional code

If you have a BFI promotion, please enter the Access Code: