Last Gangster, The (1937): Ludwig’s Crime Gangster, Starring Edward G. Robinson and the Young James Stewart

From Our Vaults:

Edward Ludwig directed The Last Gangster (aka Another Public Enemy), a crime drama, starring Edward G. Robinson and James Stewart.

The supporting cast features Rose Stradner, Lionel Stander and John Carradine.

During Prohibition, gangland kingpin Joe Krozac returns from Europe with a new wife, Talya, who is unaware of his criminal past.

In his absence, The Kile brothers have invaded his territory, so he orders their assassinations. Three are killed, but “Acey” Kile survives. Soon after, Talya becomes pregnant, to Krozac’s delight.

Krozac is sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary for ten years for income tax evasion before their son is born. After Talya visits her husband with their child, reporter Paul North plays a dirty trick on her, putting a gun in the baby’s hands for a photo.

Talya pleads to be left alone, but the editor refuses to do so. But Paul is so ashamed of himself, he quits his job and strikes up a relationship with Talya.

She gets a divorce, marries Paul, and they move away, changing their names to start a new life.

Released from prison, Krozac is determined to take his son, now named Paul Jr., and punish his former wife. However, old assistant Curly persuades him to take charge of his old gang first. which turns out to be a trap.

Curly wants to learn where Krozac hid his money before going to jail. When Krozac resists torture, the gang kidnaps his son, and Krozac gives in. The gang drive off with the loot (only to be killed by the police), leaving Krozac and his son on foot.

He is unable to convince the boy that he is his father, but they get along on the journey home. After the boy is reunited with his parents, Krozac leaves without his son.

However, Acey Kile taunts Krozac at gunpoint, threatening to tell the newspapers the real identity of the boy’s father. To stop that, Krozac rushes and kills Acey before dying.

Despite the presence of vet Robinson and the young Stewart (before he became a star), sporting an uncharacteristically thin moustache, the picture fared poorly at the box office.

A protege of European director Max Reinhardt, Rose Stradner married director Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1939 and committed suicide in 1958 at age 45.


Edward G. Robinson as Joe Krozac
James Stewart as Paul North
Rose Stradner as Talya Krozac
Lionel Stander as “Curly”
Douglas Scott as Paul North Jr./Joe Krozac Jr.
John Carradine as Caspar, an inmate who tries to bully Krozac
Sidney Blackmer as San Francisco editor
Grant Mitchell as Warden
Edward Brophy as “Fats” Garvey, prisoner
Alan Baxter as Frankie “Acey” Kile
Frank Conroy as Sid Gorman
Louise Beavers as Gloria, Talya’s servant

Films Directed by Edward Ludwig

Output: 36 films (2 silent)

Rip Van Winkle (1921)

Spuds (1927)

Steady Company (1932)

They Just Had to Get Married (1933)

A Woman’s Man (1934)

Let’s Be Ritzy (1934)

Friends of Mr. Sweeney (1934)

The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934)

Age of Indiscretion (1935)

Old Man Rhythm (1935)

Three Kids and a Queen (1935)

Fatal Lady (1936)

Adventure in Manhattan (1936)

Her Husband Lies (1937)

The Last Gangster (1937)

That Certain Age (1938)

Coast Guard (1939)

Swiss Family Robinson (1940)

Born to Sing (1942)

They Came to Blow Up America (1943)

Bomber’s Moon (1943)

The Fighting Seabees (1944), starring John Wayne

Three Is a Family (1944)

The Fabulous Texan (1947)

Wake of the Red Witch (1948), starring John Wayne

The Big Wheel (1949)

Smuggler’s Island (1951)

Big Jim McLain (1952), starring John Wayne

Caribbean Gold (1952)

The Blazing Forest (1952)

Sangaree (1953)

The Vanquished (1953)

Jivaro (1954)

Flame of the Islands (1956)

The Black Scorpion (1957)

The Gun Hawk (1963)