Doorway to Hell (1930): James Cagney’s Second Film Role

In this early talkie, directed by Archie Mayo, Lew Ayres plays Louis Ricarno, a vicious crime lord who decides to give the business to his second in command, Steve Mileway (James Cagney in his second role) and retire to Florida after marrying his moll. But he doesn’t know that she and Cagney are lovers.

Ayres wants to keep his young brother, who idolizes him, from learning the truth about his work. After moving down to Florida, former rivals kidnap the brother and kill him, causing the reformed gangster to seek revenge.

This early gangster film received an Oscar nomination for Original Story

Oscar Context

The Original Story Oscar went to The Dawn Patrol.