Last Gangster, The (1937): Crime-Gangster, Starring Edward G. Robinson and the Young Jimmy Stewart

Edward Ludwig directed Edward G. Robinson in one of his typically edgy and tough roles in the crime drama, The Last Gangster.

James Stewart, just on the verge of becoming a major star the following year with Frank Capra’s 1938 Oscar winner You Can’t Take It With You, gets second billing.

Robinson plays Joe Krozac, a gangland kingpin who returns from Europe with new wife Talya (Rose Stradner), who is unaware of his criminal past.

Upset that in his absence, the Kile brothers have invaded his territory, he orders their assassinations. Three are killed, but “Acey” Kile (Alan Baxter) survives. When Talya becomes pregnant, Krozac is delighted.

However, he is sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary for 10 years for tax evasion before their son’s birth. Talya visits her husband with their child, and shrewd reporter Paul North (James Stewart) plays a dirty trick, putting a gun in the baby’s hands for a photo. When Talya pleads to be left alone, his editor refuse.

Ashamed of himself, Paul quits his job and begins a relationship with Talya. Soon she gets a divorce, marries Paul, and the couple start a new life.

Released from prison, Krozac is determined to get his son, Paul Jr., and punish his former wife. However, his old assistant, Curly (Lionel Stander), persuades him to take charge of his old gang first.

It’s a trap, as Curly only wants to know where Krozac hid his money. Krozac resists their torture, motivating the gang to kidnap his son. The gang drive off with the loot, but is killed by the police.

Though unable to convince the boy that he is his father, they journey home, and the boy is reunited with his parents, with Krozac’s acceptance.

The tale ends tragically with Kotzac’s death after a shoot-out with Kyle.