The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Art of Cinema #386

(Roy Del Ruth; 1932)


swac said...

Geez, how is it that this has never been released? I hope Warner has an all-Cagney pre-code set lined up somewhere along the line.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Favorite moment - Cagney speaks Yiddish.

VP81955 said...

Cagney nearly had a different co-star for this one. Warners wanted Carole Lombard, who was just starting at Paramount, but she considered a loanout detrimental to her career and declined...a move she would long regret. (Later on she changed her view of such things, which was wise on her part because other studios -- particularly Columbia -- knew how to use her better than Paramount did.

For more on Lombard and "Taxi!", go to

Tommy O'C said...

Where have they been hiding this chestnut?

Cagney also spoke Yiddish in "The Fighting 69th" and at least one other movie, as well as in real life.

Operator_99 said...

Taxi is a great bit of pre-code fun and excitement, with Jimmy in top form. It does play on TCM occasionally.

swac said...

There's a new essay on cabbies in the movies over at TCM's Movie Morlocks blog, part 1 of 2, written by the radiant moirafinnie. Well worth a look!

I hope she gets around to East Side of Heaven with Bing Crosby as a crooning cabbie who has to cope with an abandoned baby left in his hack (his only co-starring role with the goddess herself, Joan Blondell).

nyc_denizen said...

Zei Gesund