The Doorway to Hell

The Doorway to Hell
The Doorway to Hell
Lew Ayres looking out from a prison cell
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Archie Mayo
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Screenplay by George Rosener
Based on Handful of Clouds by
Rowland Brown
Starring Lew Ayres
James Cagney
Cinematography Barney McGill
Editing by Robert O. Crandall
Studio Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 18, 1930 (1930-10-18)
Running time 78 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Doorway to Hell is a 1930 Pre-Code crime film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Lew Ayres and James Cagney in his second film role.[1] The film's title was typical of the sensationalistic titles of many Pre-Code films.[2] It was marketed with the tagline, "The picture Gangland defied Hollywood to make!"[3] Ayres plays a young Chicago man who attempts to go straight, but is continually pulled into the gangster lifestyle.[4] A recent review by Allmovie that was reprinted in The New York Times noted that the picture was an "an innovative film and featured a lot of elements that would become standards in the gangster genre including tommy guns carried in violin cases, terrible shoot-outs, and lots of rum-running rivalry."[1]


  1. ^ a b Brennan, Sandra. The Doorway to Hell, The New York Times, accessed October 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Doherty. pg 103
  3. ^ Doherty. pg. 154
  4. ^ Doorway to Hell,, accessed October 12, 2010.


  • Doherty, Thomas Patrick. Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema 1930-1934. New York: Columbia University Press 1999. ISBN 0-231-11094-4

External links

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