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Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
USA 194


Since his film debut in 1934, the impossibly handsome Taylor had the women swooning over him with such films as Camille (1936), in which he made glamorous love to Greta Garbo. But men were put off by "The Man With the Perfect Profile" (as he was billed), and preferred the more macho image of stars like Clark Gable. So beginning with A Yank At Oxford (1938) in which Taylor showed off the hair on his chest, MGM began putting him in more he-man roles. Johnny Eager was another attempt by the studio to toughen up Taylor's image and rid him of the "pretty-boy" label once and for all. Sporting a new, manly moustache, Taylor plays a cold-blooded gangster who succumbs to the charms of Turner, the district attorney's daughter.

Their steamy onscreen chemistry carried over to real life, as the married Taylor fell hard for the sexy 21-year old blonde bombshell. In her autobiography, Turner admits to a romance, but not an affair. She says she "flirted," but she didn't want to be responsible for breaking up Taylor's marriage to Barbara Stanwyck. Taylor, however, told his wife that he was in love with Turner and asked for a divorce. Turner says she then cooled the flirtation, and Taylor stayed married. Whatever the truth, the attraction between the two stars only helped the film.

More importantly, both stars showed some real acting chops in Johnny Eager, and proved that they were more than just pretty faces. But as good as their performances were, they were overshadowed by that of Van Heflin as Taylor's alcoholic, intellectual best friend. Heflin's work won him an Oscar as 1942's Best Supporting Actor.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE




Theatrical Release: December 9th, 1941

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:47:12
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:  5.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Archive Advert (:59)

• Trailer (2:15)

DVD Release Date: May 5th, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 13



Firstly an excellent film with heavy Noir consideration. 20-year old Turner is statuesque, Taylor great as the evil ruthless, parolee, racketeer (the only pairing of the two stars) but Van Heflin steals the show as the sympathetic drunk. Actually, did he ever give a bad performance? Lots of drama and the electricity is palpable with two of the best looking people of the entire 40`s exchanging glances. 

It's a single-layered, progressive, DVD-R that looks alright. The image is fairly solid - decent contrast and detail - without scrutinizing too heavily. There are minor speckles here and there but not enough weaknesses to complain. An errant cue-blip might be visible - no problem.

As usual, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but clear 2.0 channel sound. Extras consist a 2:15 trailer and the Archive advert that starts the disc presentation.

I've always been a Van Heflin fan and T`n`T (Turner and Taylor) do a solid job. We are given a surprisingly acceptable transfer of an exceptionally good film. Yes, we can encourage obtaining this one - very worthwhile indeed.

Gary W. Tooze


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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

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