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City for Conquest

City for Conquest

City for Conquest is a 1940 American drama film directed by Anatole Litvak and starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, and Arthur Kennedy. The picture is based on the 1936 novel of the same name by Aben Kandel. The supporting cast features Anthony Quinn, Elia Kazan, Donald Crisp, Frank McHugh, Frank Craven and Lee Patrick.

Plot

James Cagney plays a truck driver named Danny Kenny who was once a New York City Golden Gloves boxing champion. To help put his brother Eddie (Arthur Kennedy) through music school, Danny starts to box professionally under the name of Young Samson. He quickly rises through the welterweight ranks to become a title contender. Ann Sheridan plays Danny's longtime girlfriend, Peggy, a talented dancer. One night while at a dance club with Danny, Peggy is swayed by Murray Burns (Anthony Quinn), a local dancing champion. Murray asks Peggy to become his professional dance partner, but is insulting to Danny as he does it. Nevertheless, Peggy agrees and quickly learns that Murray is domineering and brutish. The arrangement was supposed to be short-term, but just as she is about to marry Danny, Peggy coldly rejects Danny's proposal in a letter as her dancing career is advancing rapidly. Embittered by Peggy's change of mind, Danny continues to thrive in the ring and gets a chance to fight for the world welterweight title. In the title fight in which he was winning, Danny is deliberately blinded by his opponent's unscrupulous seconds who have placed rosin dust onto the champion's gloves. Peggy listens to the fight on the radio, which Danny loses and absorbs terrible punishment in the process. She is so distraught she cannot go onstage to dance that night. Her career as a big-time dancer ends and she is reduced to dancing in local New York City shows for small wages. Danny, his eyesight damaged, can barely see shadows. With the help of his boxing manager, however, Danny begins working as a newsstand operator where he has many regular customers. Meanwhile, Eddie has become a successful composer of Broadway scores, but his true love is classical music. Danny persuades Eddie to pursue his true calling and continue to work on creating a symphony about New York City. Eddie dedicates his first major symphony at Carnegie Hall to his brother, who is proudly listening to the concert on the radio from his newsstand. The movie ends with Peggy tearfully reuniting with Danny at his newsstand after attending Eddie's very successful concert.