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

CAGNEY or BOGART


Recommended Posts

They were both born in New York City just 5 months apart in 1899. Both were noted for their gangster roles and both received 3 Best Actor Oscar nominations each winning once. Cagney won for his song and dance man while Bogart won for his soused river boat captain (not your typical gangster roles).

Most of all both actors left us with many fine films and performances to enjoy.

Of the two legendary actors who was your favorite and why?

 

Mongo

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love them both for different reasons, it would be like having to choose between my two kids (impossible!). I've seen far more Humphrey Bogart films than James Cagney films (and Bogie made almost 10 more too). And I've seen three which starred them both, in italics below. Both were nominated three times for Academy Awards, both won only once.

 

Since I couldn't possibly decide, other than to give the nod to Bogart because of the number of films of his I love, I'll at least list the films below to help other decide;- )

 

Cagney

 

The Public Enemy, Lady Killer, Jimmy the Gent, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Oklahoma Kid, The Roaring Twenties, Torrid Zone, The Strawberry Blonde, The Bride Came C.O.D., Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat, Love Me or Leave Me, Mister Roberts, Man of a Thousand Faces, and One, Two, Three (I left Mutiny on the Bounty off this list 'cause he was just an extra)

 

Bogart

 

The Petrified Forest, Kid Galahad, Dead End, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Oklahoma Kid, Dark Victory, The Roaring Twenties, Invisible Stripes, They Drive By Night, High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, All Through the Night, Casablanca, Sahara, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo, In a Lonely Place, The African Queen, Beat the Devil, The Caine Mutiny, Sabrina, The Barefoot Contessa, The Desperate Hours, and The Harder They Fall

 

Actually, once I made these lists, I will have to give the nod to Bogie 'cause more of my favorite films ever are on his side of the ledger.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to go with Cagney, even though I love both of their films I just enjoy watching Cagney more. It seems he might have done a broader spectrum of roles to with movies like Footlight Parade and Yankee Doodle Dandy. He could be funny and serious and always likeable, at least for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great topic, but what an Apples vs. Oranges dilemma this creates for me in trying to choose a favorite of these two actors! As Mongo points out, both actors share a similar birthplace, (albeit into profoundly different economic spheres on the island of Manhattan), era, and icon status. They each made their initial mark in films playing violent men, and are among the few classic era actors whose name is still almost instantly recognized by the average person today. I wrote the following while mulling over Mongo's choice, and I hope that you'll tolerate its length while I wrestled with these ideas--it's not an easy decision!

 

Clearly, Cagney had a greater range than Bogart since he was able to go from musicals to drama to comedy with ease--and he always imbued his characterizations with a fascinating, if somewhat eccentric, matchless physical grace. Aside from the dancer's grace and magnetism, Cagney's physical gifts included his hooded eyes--watch them sometime as they fill with irritation, amusement and pain--they express internal feeling that is rarely in the script. He could play with a joy that few actors have ever transmitted on screen, and, given the opportunity with feeling, albeit often tinged with a certain Celtic pride and sentimentality.

 

Cagney in his roles often has familial ties, however tenuous or destructive, (see "Public Enemy" or "White Heat"). Cagney often has untrustworthy allies, (Mr. Bogart in some pictures), and a few friends who are meant to be his dramatic equal as in the characters played by Pat O'Brien, though, more often they are played by character men such as Frank McHugh, and these men are usually in a subordinate position to him. He may attempt to form a kind of loving relationship with a woman, but he is usually frustrated in some sense, by her rejection, her attachment to another man, or his own brutality, as in "The Roaring Twenties", "Never Steal Anything Small" or even his 'nice guy' part in "The Strawberry Blonde". I'm not saying he never gets the girl; it's just a rarity for him.

 

Cagney also had a visceral rage that gives his characters their feral power--long before Brando and his Method actor imitators. He is simply riveting when he's onscreen. His characters don't always come out at the end of a story alive or with any insight into themselves, but they do have some self-knowledge--Cagney's characters may know that they're going to hell, but they're going to have a good, if twisted time on the way and probably take alot of the other characters with him.

 

Interestingly, while always described as a relatively mild-mannered man in private life, Cagney, despite several attempts through his own production company, producing such films as "Johnny Come Lately" and "The Time of Your Life", such quieter, more true-to-his-own- life roles never seemed to have captured the public's imagination.

**********************************************************

 

Bogart, however, played in a much narrower range than Cagney, which included a long apprenticeship as a Warners' heavy, despite his star making turn in the mid '30s in "The Petrified Forest". Yet, in his finest roles, beginning in the early '40s, he was able to bring a depth of feeling to his characters that bore the weight of a life lived and tinged with profound regret. Watch him in "High Sierra", "Casablanca", "In a Lonely Place" or his last film, "The Harder They Fall": all of these turns seem to come out of what is sometimes called "a dark night of the soul". He wasn't physically prepossessing and, with charity, might best be described as "the handsomest ugly man" you've ever seen, to paraphrase Lauren Bacall. As he grew older,(and balder), and even sickly looking as he appears in some of his later movies, his physical appearance, battered as it was, works for him more than it did when he was younger.

 

Bogart often comes out of these movies battered, and alone, but shielded by a newfound understanding of his values and the place he will continue to carve out for himself in this hardscrabble, unjust world. Occasionally, and more often than his co-worker, Cagney, he also has the love, (not just fealty), of friends and a woman, as in "To Have and To Have Not" and "Key Largo". Bogart's rages, especially in his brilliant performance in Nicholas Ray's "In a Lonely Place" may not have all of Cagney's pyrotechnic flair, but Bogart's anger is a corrosive acid, that burns him as much as it hurts others. Even in "The Maltese Falcon", in one of his first quasi-romantic parts, I've always thought Marlowe's heart sank with the elevator carrying Brigid O'Shaugnessy to her well-deserved fate, but he was also angry with her and himself, when, in the scene before this, he confronted her with the truth of her actions and with his own regret that he had allowed himself to feel so much for her, despite his knowledge.

 

I think that it is this ability to express an internal struggle to self-understanding, and the romantic longing for elusive ideals that tips the balance in Bogart's favor----though truthfully, I almost always pause to watch Cagney whenever I come across his films.

Link to post
Share on other sites

moira, your analysis of the two stars is splendid. In fact it helped me to decide my choice since I was also debating back and forth.

With that said my choice is James Cagney since I believe he is the most versatile of the two. I also have a weakness for more of his films than that of Bogart.

However in the long run both 'tough' guys were just great, and still are. Legends of Hollywood.

 

Mongo

Link to post
Share on other sites

my vote is for Cagney he was a versitile actor, dancer

such fine performances in Love me or leave me, and

the man with a thousand faces also playing yankee doodle

dandy.....great talent so grateful we can watch these

wonderful films over & over !....lolite.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to say Bogart since I like more of his movies, and enjoy him more as an actor.

 

It's true that Cagney was more versatile, and I love many of his films - in fact I think his performance in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is one of the best in the history of film. Not only did he totally capture the persona of George M. Cohan, but he sang and danced brilliantly - just as good as Astaire or Kelly ever did, AND he did it in Cohan's style - he was able to emulate it perfectly. And he was phenomenal in "White Heat" - he's actually frightening in the role - totally ruthless, and just plain scary.

 

But, I just feel that Bogart is more watchable. He just captures you and rivets you to the screen. I was on the edge of my seat all throughout "The Maltese Falcon" - not only because of the suspenseful plot, but because Bogart just gave a powerhouse performance. And Moira was right on the money when she mentioned how you can see how sad and yet angry he is at the end when Mary Astor is taken away. The emotion is all there - the turmoil of love and hate. (And Moira - I thoroughly enjoyed reading your well written post).

 

It can also be said that Bogart was in more "classic" films, that have stood the test of time and are still widely regarded. And I know that this fact really has no bearing on what us "real" fans think, but, it is still a fact - I mean the guy was in the greatest movie of all time, that being "Casablanca" - and just look at that movie for instance - at the end he's so torn, you don't know if he's going to hop on that plane with Ilsa or not. He keeps you in suspense - and that's good acting. And just watch him towards the end of "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" where he's so filled with greed and rage, it just overcomes him. He did a good job there too - talking to himself as we see him really cracking up over the gold.

 

So, even though it's really a tough one, I'd have to go with Bogie.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

Both--except when one kills the other. Cagney is mean, and Bogey can be too. I like Bogey a little more, because he can actually play the hero and be the hero--if you understand.

Was Cagney naturally cruel?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bogart for me. He is in many more movies that I like. Cagney is great, for sure. I like the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, but I never liked the way he danced with pointy toes sorta. : ). I geuss Bogie is just a tad more smooth.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mongo, these discussions are fun. But, they're sorta like: Which do you like best : Steak or lobster? It all depends on what I feel like tonite. Most times I'll go with "steak"(Bogie). But other times ya can't beat lobster (Cagny). Is this clear? I didn't think so...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was all prepared to make a reply to this topic, as difficult as it is - then got caught up in moirafinnie's wonderful essay...and forgot what I was going to say! Superb, moirafinnie - it's gratifying to see there are still people out there who can think, and write!

 

But, for my 2 cents: Two tough guys on the screen (and not-so-tough offscreen), similar in some ways, but each unique. As much as I love Cagney, I'll have to go for Bogie as my choice. That hound-dog face - quite beautiful when he was, say, in his early 40s - combined with the inner strength of the man that he was always able to convey effortlessly, or so he made it seem. He was mesmerizing.

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...