Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY - Sour Note


Recommended Posts

We ran YANKEE DOODLE DANDY for our movie crowd Saturday and I was reminded how much I dislike Joan Leslie in that picture. I'm sorry, but Joan was not a very good actress. All her acting was in her face. She had a nice light quality but even Curtiz couldn't get her to pull off a realistic performance. I would love to have seen Priscilla Lane as Mary.

 

Aside from that, it's one of the greatest pictures ever made. We had 45 people in the audience and more than half had never seen it. They were completely wowed. And they liked Joan. Obviously I'm a lone scrooge!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're right about Leslie, but I also don't think that Priscilla Lane would've been any better.

 

Warner's always excelled at parts for tough women like Bette Davis and Ida Lupino, or even haughty ones like Alexis Smith and, later, Virginia Mayo, but light and sweet types were often problematic for the studio. Olivia deHavilland would've made an excellent Mary, of course (and she was a better age match with Cagney), but she was, perhaps, too strong a personality in her own right and would've unbalanced what was meant as a star vehicle for Cagney, and Cagney alone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Curtiz was blubbering at the end of the scene. As for Priscilla - I just watched her with Cagney in ROARING TWENTIES. Nice chemistry. And she did great work for Mike in FOUR DAUGHTERS and FOUR WIVES.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Four Daughters also starred her 2 sisters Rosemary and Lola Lane, But it was that film that made a star out of John Garfield. Good solid direction by Curtiz with fine supporting cast headed by Claude Raines. The remake in 1954 stayed close to the original with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra taking over the Lane and Garfield roles.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote}

> Four Daughters is the movie that first made me take notice of Priscilla Lane, I think she was wonderful in it!

 

It's the best showpiece movie for the Lane Sisters I can think of.

Priscilla had just a tad more "star quality" than her sisters, although all were talented. It's fun to watch an old movie with a younger person who has no idea who the stars are. They invariably see the "star quality" and ask, "Who IS that?"

Priscilla Lane is one of those people everyone notices. I would have loved to have seen her in more movies, especially YDD - good call!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think Pricilla Lane would have been any better. And I agree that while Olivia deHavilland would have been better for a number of reasons, it might have taken away from Cagney as the one-and-only real star of this picture.

 

But bottom line - I LOVE this movie. I watch it every single July 4th and never get tired of this tradition. This year, because I saw it about 6 months ago, I was not looking forward to it as much, but once I got into it, I was glad I turned it on.

 

Cagney is simply brilliant in this movie, and the music and overall theme takes me back to a time when people understood what an honor it was to be an American...and acted honorably as a result - particularly when they knew they were on the world stage.

 

It's hard not to get a tear in your eye during some of those scenes shown to the tune of "Over There", when serving one's country was considered the noble and right thing to do, whether one was rich or poor, celebrity or 'regular guy'. Not something to do simply so that you could get money for college, and that celebrities would never dream of doing, because they are Just That Self-Important.

 

It's nice to think about a time (and hope it will come again) when more Americans of all stripes had honor, and didn't look at service to one's country as 'someone else's job'.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> It's hard not to get a tear in your eye during some of those scenes shown to the tune of "Over There", when serving one's country was considered the noble and right thing to do (snipped) Not something to do simply so that you could get money for college

 

Exactly, there seems to be no such thing as selflessness or self satisfaction these days. I've heard others say you're a "chump" if you do anything without financial gain. gaah.gif

 

The scene that always "gets me" even if I just see it as a clip, (heck just thinking about it) is when Cohan leaves the president's office and skips & dances down the stairs.

 

It's executed just perfectly by Cagney and expresses so many strong emotions that are seemingly lost today; patriotism, honor, and pride in recognition of a great job done. Call me corny, call me a chump, it touches me and I'm grateful I don't have a cynical hardened heart.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my favorite performances in the film is Clinton Rosemund as the White House butler at the beginning of the film. A beautiful, natural portrayal of a man meeting one of his idols.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the movie too, and maybe I am the only one who likes Joan Leslie. I think she and Cagney have a great, comfortable chemistry and were totally believable. I love their scenes together. I am not saying Joan was a great actress, but she was representing home and hearth for a lot of people, and she is wholesome and sweet as she is supposed to be. I understand the reservations about her, but I enjoy her performance and the give and take with Cagney.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're not the only one...Joan Leslie is a lovely lady onscreen and off, and I personally feel she was just right for the role of Mary. She's not a great actress but she has some very appealing qualities.

 

One of her performances I enjoyed the most was THE SKY'S THE LIMIT in which she more than held her own with Fred Astaire despite her youth.

 

Best wishes --

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew! We're not alone, MoviefanLaura! That's a relief.

 

Ray, I agree with you that Clinton Rosemond was especially wonderful in the movie. In fact, I have to say that I pretty much love every performer in Yankee Doodle Dandy, from the larger roles like Richard Whorf (I would run away with Sam Harris in a minute), to Pat Flaherty and Frank Faylen (guard at the White House and soldier in the parade at the end, respectively). In fact, I can't think of too many other movies that are as exceptionally well cast as this one, and it had a HUGE cast....

 

I have my favorite scenes, but there are so many of them, it's hard to choose one. They are strung like pearls evenly all the way through the movie.... it makes it a wonderful, moving experience every year. And each time someone shows up, like Eddie Foy, Jr., George Tobias or S.Z. Sakall, it's like seeing an old friend. To me it is an almost perfect movie. But I have to have a box of kleenex with me for the whole thing, cause I get pretty choked up, starting pretty much right at the beginning. It's the best holiday movie, I think.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Is there anyone else who had a dancing technique anything like Cagney?

 

Yes, and it should be obvious: George M. Cohan. They were similar, but Cagney pushed his style to approximate Cohan's as closely as possible.

 

When Cagney reprised, as a cameo, his role as Cohan in the Bob Hope film THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS, the thirteen-year gap between the two films had really caught up with him. He described the dance number he did with Hope as exhausting and nearly excruciating.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote}

> > Four Daughters is the movie that first made me take notice of Priscilla Lane, I think she was wonderful in it!

>

> It's the best showpiece movie for the Lane Sisters I can think of.

> Priscilla had just a tad more "star quality" than her sisters, although all were talented. It's fun to watch an old movie with a younger person who has no idea who the stars are. They invariably see the "star quality" and ask, "Who IS that?"

 

Oh, I agree, completely, I fall into that category myself a lot of the time. That (and Garfield's film debut) was what made Four Daughters such a memorable movie for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hear, hear--I think Joan Leslie is wonderful, especially in The Sky's the Limit, as Laura mentions. In it, she plays (at age 18) a 25-year-old and displays a subtle and appealing acting ability. As much as I love Yankee Doodle Dandy, it is a rather one-dimensional kind of role, and at 17 she can't quite pull off playing a lady in her fifites! She herself grew tired of playing the juvenile, goody-goody roles she often was given at Warners. Once she left there, she was able to show more versatility.

 

I've had the great fortune to interview and spend some time with her, and she is a wonderful person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Best movie for the July 4th holiday, or any holiday?

 

I was trying to think of some I liked better for any holiday. I certainly look forward to this one the most every year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too. My tradition of watching Yankee Doodle Dandy on July 4th is by far my favorite one. I simply never tire of this wonderful film.

 

However, I guess I don't have many holiday-related traditions related to one specific film. I try to watch Christmas in Connecticut (and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) sometime during the holiday season, but the rest of my traditions are more vague. I like to watch a vampire movie of some type on Halloween (anything from Dracula to a modern vampire film like The Lost Boys or Underworld - different one each year)...and I celebrate some stars' birthdays and/or anniversary of their death each year with one of their films (again, different one each year).

 

But Yankee Doodle Dandy is really the only film that I always watch on a particular date each year.

 

For me, this movie mades the holiday special, and helps me keep in mind the reason for the celebration!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...