Guest Nunnery, Beth

Who Likes James Cagney?

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Nobody tougher or finer. Watched Public Enemy the other night. Great shot of Cagney waiting in the rain. Watched Taxi on TCM at 5am a few weeks ago. great flick, great performance! Angels with Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties, all excellent. Not to mention that he was a hoofer in his day (Yankee Doodle Dandy). Who can forget White Heat (Top of the world, ma!)

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I love Cagney! Recently I watched "The Bride Came

C.O.D. for the first time, and it was so funny! He

was an incredibly talented actor.

 

For all James Cagney fans everywhere, one of his best comedies is on TCM tonight--Torrid Zone, with Ann Sheridan and Pat O'Brien. If you enjoyed The Bride Came C.O.D., you'll love this one; it's fast-paced, with terrific performances, especially by Annie, with whom Cagney has great screen rapport. It's on at 9:00 p.m., PST, so for all you Cagney lovers on the East Coast who have never seen it, set the recording devices because it's definitely worth taping.

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He's amazing in everything he does. He has a great sense of fun and mischief which makes him imminently watchable. I was watching EACH DAWN I DIE and last night and was again impressed with his skills. His breakdown scene in that movie is one for the books. He consistently makes any material he's given shine.

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I have always liked "G-Men" and I watched it last night.

 

What struck me this time is that in FBI training school, while Cagney proved adept with boxing gloves, he is tossed around pretty savagely in the jiujitsu training. In fact, he leaves the gym utterly bested by Lloyd Nolan. The striking thing to me is that I can't think of a modern movie star who would let himself be so utterly bested on screen. Cagney takes his lumps, but he persists and (of course) proves the best G-Man of all, but he isn't afraid to be weak for a while. And audiences responded to this in him. Is it the movie stars who have changed, or is it the audience?

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"Boy Meets Girl",a Cagney-O'Brien comedy of the thirties,I thought it was very funny!But, I haven't seen it in years!

Cagney was great in "Torrid Zone",but without Ann Sheridan it would only be average!!

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I watched "Lady Killer." What a goofy but fun film. He goes from running a larceny ring to movie star. Some of it seems almost improvised. Cagney drags Mae Clarke out of his room by her hair. Earlier in the movie I had to do a double take as Cagney is sitting down and Clarke is standing next to him. He is hugging her. The film cuts from the dialogue just long enough for Cagney to turn his head and plant a little kiss right on her breast. Then it goes back to the dialogue. Clarke is pretty good too.

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After falling in love with James Cagney during the 1974 AFI film tribute to him, I watched any movie of his that came on TV. My two favorites are "Angels with Dirty Faces" and, of course, "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Looking at those films now, he was fated to be Rocky Sullivan and the Yankee Doodle Boy as clearly as the sun is fated to rise every morning. He's the real American Idol, and let anybody out there dispute that -- if they can.

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His best roles were as Eddie Bartlett in "The Roaring Twenties ". and as Cody Jarrett in "White Heat". Both were directed by the great and Irish Raoul Walsh. *

 

 

* Everyone knows that Irish = Great

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James Cagney is a favorite of mine because he could really play criminal parts very well. Robert Osborne said that he came from New York City before he became an actor. Public Enemy stands out for me as one of his best movies. I like him in Yankee Doodle Dandy also. I don't know if he was Irish, but this sure comes out in him when he talks, and in other ways.

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Liked Cagney in the gangster and action films, but am I alone in the thinking about his performances in Yankee Doodle Dandy and Man of 1000 faces, I thought he was too hammy and over dramatic, don't get me wrong but he tries too hard to fill up the screen.It also could be that I am 44 and am used to modern film delivery.

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I like Cagney a lot, but I noticed a funny thing when I was in college. I would see a Cagney film on TV, like "City for Conquest," and think it (and he) was so-so. Then when I saw the same movie on the big screen, Cagney really seemed wonderful in it. I think his performances are scaled for the big screen, and that he (and we) lose something when he is on the smaller TV screen.

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> Liked Cagney in the gangster and action films, but am

> I alone in the thinking about his performances in

> Yankee Doodle Dandy and Man of 1000 faces, I thought

> he was too hammy and over dramatic, don't get me

> wrong but he tries too hard to fill up the screen.It

> also could be that I am 44 and am used to modern film

> delivery.

 

RTR, you have to bear in mind that in the two films you named Cagney was playing real actors of the past, from a time when "hammy" acting was pretty much the norm. In Man of 1000 Faces, for example, he was playing Lon Chaney, a silent film actor. I think Cagney was attempting to recreate something of the old-fashioned "big" acting style of the 1920s.

 

When I was a girl and first saw "Yankee Doodle Dandy," I laughed at the way Cagney danced, so stiff-legged, with his backside sticking out. Then I saw the real George M. Cohan in a film and, by golly, that's just the way Cohan danced! In addition, Cohan was an old-style showman, and did everything in a big way, and that's what Cagney was trying to convey.

 

Despite his very strong screen personality, Cagney was capable of subtle and nuanced performances, and he gave them to us many times.

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Cagney had a philosophy to not relax when acting. He said that when you relax the audience relaxes; maybe this accounted for the sometimes over the top performances. Just the same I thought he took center stage and kept it. It was easy for me to see why he was a star.

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I Love James Cagney! Angels with Dirts Faces really struck a chord in my heart. It was all so believeable. This hardened criminal who would spit in the eye of any law enforcement including the guy who has to pull the lever for the electric chair, and here he does his friend the ultimate favor. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I would love to be able to see James Cagney on the big screen maybe someday they will show some of his films at one of the offbeat theaters that do revivals.

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Cagney ranked up there with the Best of the Best!!!! I LOVED him in White Heat and Angels with Dirty Faces, as well as The Bride Came C.O.D. Everything he starred in (that I've had the pleasure of viewing) was great!!!

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Welcome to the board. Cagney turns up on a regular basis with mostly films from the 30's. I like "The Bride Came C.O.D." but I understand Bette Davis hated it.

 

We look forward to talking with you.

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> Cagney ranked up there with the Best of the

> Best!!!! I LOVED him in White Heat and Angels with

> Dirty Faces, as well as The Bride Came C.O.D.

> Everything he starred in (that I've had the pleasure

> of viewing) was great!!!

 

[iCagney to me was best as a gangster. Roaring Twenties is a favorite, as with the one mention in the quote.I understand that he and Bogie didn't like each other very much. That may be some hollywood "urban lengend". Robinson is my fave of all, though.][/i]

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Bogart and Cagney got along fine. They just had different approaches to film-acting. Bogart thought it was a waste of time, and Cagney believed in it as an art form. Either way, the fire that these two brought to the screen when they were together is surpassed only by Karloff and Lugosi.

 

And as far as James Cagney goes, he is one of my top favorites. I've yet to see a film of his where he wasn't anything less than brilliant.

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