fredbaetz

James Cagney

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Another year and no birthday tribute to the wonderful Jimmy Cagney. Has he ever had one. Or  has he ever had a "Star of the Month"? Jimmy has a big fan base out there and richly deserved. Does anyone know why he's been overlooked ?

 

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46 minutes ago, fredbaetz said:

Another year and no birthday tribute to the wonderful Jimmy Cagney. Has he ever had one. Or  has he ever had a "Star of the Month"? Jimmy has a big fan base out there and richly deserved. Does anyone know why he's been overlooked ?

Check out the General Discussions section for the thread entitled "Cagney". This conversation has been ongoing for the last few days.

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Cagney is one of the more popular classic Hollywood actors that I have not gotten into yet.  I saw White Heat and liked it.  What are some of his best films?  

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15 hours ago, fredbaetz said:

Another year and no birthday tribute to the wonderful Jimmy Cagney. Has he ever had one. Or  has he ever had a "Star of the Month"? Jimmy has a big fan base out there and richly deserved. Does anyone know why he's been overlooked ?

 

Cagney has been SOTM twice (1998,  2008, so he may be one again, soon),  and featured in Summer Under the Stars multiple times.    Since Cagney was under contract for Warner Bros for much of his career his films are shown a lot more than most stars.     

TCM can't have birthday tributes for all the stars or even 10% of them,  since that would lock up 80% of their programming.    This is simple math. 

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16 minutes ago, Moorman said:

Cagney is one of the more popular classic Hollywood actors that I have not gotten into yet.  I saw White Heat and liked it.  What are some of his best films?  

  • The Public Enemy
  • Angels with Dirty Faces
  • The Roaring Twenties
  • Each Dawn I Die
  • Torrid Zone
  • The Fighting 69th
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Love Me or Leave Me

I would consider all of these, along with White Heat, as essential Cagney. Most of the others are at least good, with only a couple of total busts in his filmography.

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26 minutes ago, Moorman said:

Cagney is one of the more popular classic Hollywood actors that I have not gotten into yet.  I saw White Heat and liked it.  What are some of his best films?  

Wow,  some of Cagney's best films would be a very long list.    Adding to the list already provided:

Early 30s films;  These are not great productions (i.e. made in a few weeks,  re-hashed scripts),  but early Cagney has so much energy and gusto,  that even with the lack of production 'values' these are worth seeing (many also feature Joan Blondell and they made a great team);  Blonde Crazy,  Smart Money, Taxi,   Lady Killer. 

Footlight Parade:   Now this is a musical but Cagney plays the part of a production showman with a gangster type persona.   Also with Blondell the dialog and banter is a hoot,  and there are the Berkeley dances sequences.

The Strawberry Blonde;   This shows a softer side of Cagney, but he still is full of energy and gusto;  With Olivia DeHavilland (she makes the film for me),   and a radiant but not so nice Rita Hayworth.    

 

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Cagney dominated Warner's in the 1930's and somewhat in the 40's. If you're unfamiliar with his work the best thing to do is start at the beginning. The film that shot him to stardom was "The Public Enemy". William "Wild Bill" Wellman told production head Darryl F. Zanuck he would make the biggest, toughest gangster ever and he did. A story of 2 boyhood friends who turn to a life of crime. Lead Edward Woods and James Cagney as the pal were cast. But after a few days, Wellman looks at the rushes and realizes that Cagney is the dominate actor and switches leads. The film and Cagney blows everyone away. But Jimmy wasn't just a tough guy, he started out as a hoofer. The guy could sing, dance, do comedy and use a gat. Any of the films listed above by jamesjazzguitar will win you over as a Cagney. But also his Academy Award nominated film "Angels With Dirty Faces" will blow you away The ending is still one of the greatest acting pieces you'll ever see. To round out the 1930's is "The Roaring Twenties". Start the 40's with Jimmy's Academy Award for Best Actor "Yankee Doodle Dandy". The bio pic of song and dance man George M. Cohan Jimmy and Warner's butted heads in the 30's and 40's and Jimmy left and came back. He did some good films outside Warner Bros. but at Warner's he was at his best with scripts, directors and co stars. I hope this has been of some help, sorry if I ran a little long...Fred...

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My bad.  I have seen The Public Enemy.  Its a great film.  In fact I commented in a thread about Scarface (1983) about how two scenes in that movie were lifted from The Public Enemy.  So, I have seen White Heat and The Public Enemy.  I'm gonna look at some of the films on the lists posted above.  They look like great lists...

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I really like James Cagney. He did such a good job in:

Picture Snatcher

The Public Enemy

The Roaring Twenties

Each Dawn I Die

City for Conquest

White Heat

...and I'm probably forgetting a film or two. He made a better gangster than Edward G. Robinson did, in my opinion....and I like Edward G. Robinson.

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