Monday, March 20, 2023

Tyrone Power is "Johnny Apollo"

Johnny Apollo (1940) is an American film noir crime drama directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Tyrone Power and Dorothy Lamour. The supporting cast includes Edward Arnold, Lloyd Nolan, Charlie Grapewin, and Lionel Atwill. The screenplay was written by Philip Dunne and Rowland Brown. The cinematography was by Arthur Miller.

When Bob Cain Jr.’s father is thrown in jail for embezzlement, he finds it impossible to get a job and keep it, once they realize “Pop” Cain (Arnold) is his father. Taking the name Johnny Apollo, Bob Jr. ends up working for gangsters and falling for Lucky (Lamour), a night club singer.

Johnny tries to get his father out of prison but things don’t go as planned. Will this be the end of Johnny and his father? Or will there be a way for both father and son to reconcile and get back to the straight and narrow path?

Henry Hathaway (1898 – 1985) was an American film director and producer. Hathaway started working in silent films in 1925 as an assistant to established directors like Victor Fleming and Josef von Sternberg. His first solo directorial effort was Heritage of the Desert (1932) starring Randolph Scott. Hathaway, along with Scott, would be known for western movies. Besides Scott, Hathaway directed Gary Cooper in several films, including The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) which earned him his only Best Director Academy Award nomination. In 1940, Hathaway began working at Fox where he directed Tyrone Power in Johnny Apollo and Brigham Young (both 1940), Gene Tierney in China Girl (1942), Don Ameche and Dana Andrews in Wing and a Prayer (1944), and Call Northside 777 (1948) starring James Stewart and Richard Conte. After leaving Fox, he was one of three directors who worked on the western epic How the West Was Won (1962). He directed Steve McQueen in Nevada Smith (1966), directed John Wayne in True Grit (1968) which won Wayne his one and only Best Actor Academy Award.

Tyrone Power (1914 – 1958) was a major movie star as well as a star on stage and radio. He was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1930s and 1940s. Power was under exclusive contract to 20th Century-Fox where his image and film choices were carefully selected by studio head Zanuck. After the war, Power wanted to stretch his acting past romantic comedies and swashbuckler roles. Nightmare Alley was Power’s personal favorite of all his films. Some of Power's films include Marie Antoinette (1938), The Rains Came (1939), Jesse James (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940), and  Blood and Sand (1941). Later in his career, he starred in Captain from Castile (1947), The Black Rose (1950), and Witness for the Prosecution (1957). Power’s favorite of all his films that he starred in was Nightmare Alley (1947) even though it was a commercial and a critical failure when first released. Its status as a classic film noir has been recently reevaluated.

Dorothy Lamour (1914 – 1996) was an American actress and singer. She is probably best known for her work in the Road movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Lamour had major film successes on her own in films like The Hurricane (1937) directed by John Ford, Chad Hanna (1941) directed by Henry Kind and co-starring Henry Fonda and Linda Darnell. Her film career waned during the 1950s so Lamour embarked on a successful career in nightclubs and as a stage and television actress. 

Johnny Apollo trivia
  • Linda Darnell was set to co-star with Power; Alice Faye was also considered. Dorothy Lamour was borrowed from Paramount in a swap with Don Ameche,
  • The film had a preview for 34 college newspaper editors in Ossining, NY; some of the exterior prison scens were filmed at Sing Sing Penetentiary.

To watch the film on YouTube, click on the link below.

To Join the discussion on March 27, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time, click here. Once you RSVP, You'll receive an invitation and link to join the discussion on Zoom.

Discussion questions
  1. Does this film fit the film noir genre? If not, how would you categorize it?
  2. Dorothy Lamour received good reviews for her performance as Lucky. What did you think of here performance?
  3. What about Tyrone Power? Did you think he made a good Johnny Apollo? Was he believeable as a good kid gone wrong?
  4. Did you think Power and Lamour had on-screen chemistry?
  5. Was the end of the film satisfying?


  1. I look forward to watching this one. I thought I'd seen it, but I had it confused with Johnny Angel! Any time I can see Tyrone Power is just all right with me.

  2. It's a fun movie and Dorothy Lamour really gives a good performance. It's probably the best role she had where she was able to show she had more than good looks on her side.


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