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What is "THE" James Cagney Film For You?


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as far as I can see, this title has only been mentioned once, and briefly, but my personal favorite  of Cagney's- and a film I would absolutely deem an "Essential" is Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three from 1961.

 

It is the last truly great Wilder film (I'd personally put it in his top five) and (maybe?) Cagney's last great role, and it's amazing to see him tearing it up gleefully- returning (in a sense) to his gangster/tough guy roots, spewing machine gun dialogue rat-a-tat-tat and embracing a premise that wouldn't have been allowed during the Code or the political climate of the 1950's.

 

It's like Cagney in a post-Golden era homage to the 1930's Cagney in a Wilder film that's an homage to Lubitsch.

 

He was ROBBED of an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, a real shame since the line-up in 1961 contains some weak and/or borderline supporting performances. it's stunning the screenplay was ignored as well.

 

It is a film I recommend quite highly- for while the history has changed (there is no longer an East/West Germany, which is what the plot hinges on) the dialogue (rife with sexual innuendo, politics, skewering of capitalism and corporate life and jokes about postwar Germany where former Nazis are now allies of a sort) rings true (and funny) to this day.

 

It's a film you watch and say "wow! I didn't think they could get away with this back then!" (even though the Code had eroded by the time it was made.)

 

interesting tidbit- in his autobiography, Cagney slammed handsome costar Horst Burcholtz (sp?) as an egomaniacal, upstaging pain in the a**....

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as far as I can see, this title has only been mentioned once, and briefly, but my personal favorite  of Cagney's- and a film I would absolutely deem an "Essential" is Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three from 1961.

 

It is the last truly great Wilder film (I'd personally put it in his top five) and (maybe?) Cagney's last great role, and it's amazing to see him tearing it up gleefully- returning (in a sense) to his gangster/tough guy roots, spewing machine gun dialogue rat-a-tat-tat and embracing a premise that wouldn't have been allowed during the Code or the political climate of the 1950's.

 

 

 

Spot on.

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as far as I can see, this title has only been mentioned once, and briefly, but my personal favorite  of Cagney's- and a film I would absolutely deem an "Essential" is Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three from 1961.

 

It is the last truly great Wilder film (I'd personally put it in his top five) and (maybe?) Cagney's last great role, and it's amazing to see him tearing it up gleefully- returning (in a sense) to his gangster/tough guy roots, spewing machine gun dialogue rat-a-tat-tat and embracing a premise that wouldn't have been allowed during the Code or the political climate of the 1950's.

 

It's like Cagney in a post-Golden era homage to the 1930's Cagney in a Wilder film that's an homage to Lubitsch.

 

He was ROBBED of an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, a real shame since the line-up in 1961 contains some weak and/or borderline supporting performances. it's stunning the screenplay was ignored as well.

 

It is a film I recommend quite highly- for while the history has changed (there is no longer an East/West Germany, which is what the plot hinges on) the dialogue (rife with sexual innuendo, politics, skewering of capitalism and corporate life and jokes about postwar Germany where former Nazis are now allies of a sort) rings true (and funny) to this day.

 

It's a film you watch and say "wow! I didn't think they could get away with this back then!" (even though the Code had eroded by the time it was made.)

 

interesting tidbit- in his autobiography, Cagney slammed handsome costar Horst Burcholtz (sp?) as an egomaniacal, upstaging pain in the a**....

ONE, TWO, THREE is underrated because it came on the heels of Wilder's great SOME LIKE IT HOT and THE APARTMENT.

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ONE, TWO, THREE is underrated because it came on the heels of Wilder's great SOME LIKE IT HOT and THE APARTMENT.

 

Ooh. I've never heard of One, Two, Three.  I really enjoy Billy Wilder's work-- I don't think I've been disappointed with one of his films yet (wait, I take that back. I loathed Love in the Afternoon).  I just checked Netflix and One, Two, Three is on there.  I've just added it to my queue. Thanks for mentioning this film everyone!

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wow, thanks everyone for all the positive feedback.

 

for the record, I prefer One, Two, Three to both Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. (not that I dislike either of those.)

 

I'd say my top five of his films (as a director only) are:

 

Five Graves to Cairo

Double Indemnity

Sunset Boulevard

Ace in the Hole/ The Big Carnival

One, Two, Three

 

(oops, am I steering things away from Cagney? apologies)

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wow, thanks everyone for all the positive feedback.

 

for the record, I prefer One, Two, Three to both Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. (not that I dislike either of those.)

 

I'd say my top five of his films (as a director only) are:

 

Five Graves to Cairo

Double Indemnity

Sunset Boulevard

Ace in the Hole/ The Big Carnival

One, Two, Three

 

(oops, am I steering things away from Cagney? apologies)

I really liked:

 

Double Indemnity

Sunset Boulevard

Sabrina

Some Like it Hot

The Apartment

 

I saw The Lost Weekend and while I thought it was good and Ray Milland completely deserved his Best Actor Oscar; but I don't know if it ranks high on the rewatchability meter for me, it was depressing.  Perhaps if I was depressed and wanted to feel even worse, this would be the film I'd watch.  Or maybe I'd pop it into the DVD player if I was too happy and needed to be brought back down to Earth.  Haha.

 

I've been wanting to watch Ace in the Hole for awhile now... I'll need to watch that along with One, Two, Three starring James Cagney!

 

How's that for getting us back on track?

 

(Although, I'd love to discuss Billy Wilder further on another thread; perhaps we can start (or revive) a Wilder-oriented thread and go more in depth)

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ONE, TWO, THREE is underrated because it came on the heels of Wilder's great SOME LIKE IT HOT and THE APARTMENT.

 

Hmmmmm...once again, I always thought everybody and especially perhaps Jimmy in that Cold War comedy was tryin' just a little too hard to be funny and just SLIGHTLY missing the mark. And though I know you've always liked the "rapid-fire-ness" of this film, finance, it's always seemed to me to be a bit "forced".

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Hmmmmm...once again, I always thought everybody and especially perhaps Jimmy in that Cold War comedy was tryin' just a little too hard to be funny and just SLIGHTLY missing the mark. And though I know you've always liked the "rapid-fire-ness" of this film, finance, it's always seemed to me to be a bit "forced".

I've always been a fan of One, Two, Three, even if one argues that the film is actually faster than it is funny.

 

This film had Cagney's fastest dialogue exchanges since, at least, Boy Meets Girl, over 20 years before. Even though Cagney acknowledged he had problems memorizing his lines in one scene of the film, what's left on screen is an amazing comedy performance. It's an older, fiesty version of the same inimitable tough guy with which he had started his career. I don't see how Cagney fans could be anything but pleased at how brilliant he could still be when he had the right material.

 

Having said that, I'm glad that Jimmy made his decision to retire then, to go out on top in a comedy made by an acclaimed director very much on a roll at the time.

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Hmmmmm...once again, I always thought everybody and especially perhaps Jimmy in that Cold War comedy was tryin' just a little too hard to be funny and just SLIGHTLY missing the mark. And though I know you've always liked the "rapid-fire-ness" of this film, finance, it's always seemed to me to be a bit "forced".

 

I really like the first hour or so of One Two Three, but the last act where Cagney is relentlessly barking out orders (essentially a Cold War rewrite of the original Molnar one-act play from the '20s) is my favorite farce ever.

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Don't get me wrong here, folks. I'm not saying I think the film is a turkey or anything.

 

And while I understand everyone is free to like any movie over any other movie they wish to, I just can not understand how one could personally rate ONE, TWO, THREE over Wilder's other two recognized masterpieces...one often rated as the "best comedy" ever made, and the other, one of the few comedies ever to win the Best Picture Oscar.

 

(...but once again, no offense intended)

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Don't get me wrong here, folks. I'm not saying I think the film is a turkey or anything.

 

And while I understand everyone is free to like any movie over any other movie they wish to, I just can not understand how one could personally rate ONE, TWO, THREE over Wilder's other two recognized masterpieces...one often rated as the "best comedy" ever made, and the other, one of the few comedies ever to win the Best Picture Oscar.

 

(...but once again, no offense intended)

giphy.gif

 

. . . and to hell with anyone who doesn't like this damn film, mistah! ;)

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giphy.gif

 

. . . and to hell with anyone who doesn't like this damn film, mistah! ;)

 

LOL

 

Well, I guess in my defense, I'll offer up THIS in response, Tom...

 

Nobodys-Perfect-Reaction-Gif-In-Some-Lik

 

;)

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LOL

 

Well, I guess in my defense, I'll offer up THIS in response, Tom...

 

Nobodys-Perfect-Reaction-Gif-In-Some-Lik

 

;)

 

I love how Jack Lemmon telling Osgood that he's a man is his last resort.

 

This is probably one of the best closing lines ever for a film.

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Nobodys-Perfect-Reaction-Gif-In-Some-Lik

 

 

 

Actually, this is technically incorrect. Joe E. Brown's final line in Some Like It Hot was, "Well, nobody's perfect."

 

I guess that applies to whoever wrote that subtitle on the picture, as well.

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Actually, this is technically incorrect. Joe E. Brown's final line in Some Like It Hot was, "Well, nobody's perfect."

 

I guess that applies to whoever wrote that subtitle on the picture, as well.

 

Yep Tom, true...on both counts.

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Hmmmmm...once again, I always thought everybody and especially perhaps Jimmy in that Cold War comedy was tryin' just a little too hard to be funny and just SLIGHTLY missing the mark. And though I know you've always liked the "rapid-fire-ness" of this film, finance, it's always seemed to me to be a bit "forced".

I have to say, I'm surprised you don't care for One Two Three because it's such an outrageous comedy and because it finds humor in situations where some might be offended...Maybe you should check it out again because it just seems so you.

 

It is a film that divides people though, I've heard more than one person say they were turned off by it...But that's the case with a lot of great films- they provoke different reactions in different people.

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I'd say my top five of his films (as a director only) are:

 

Five Graves to Cairo

Double Indemnity

Sunset Boulevard

Ace in the Hole/ The Big Carnival

One, Two, Three

 

(oops, am I steering things away from Cagney? apologies)

 

That's okay, since Wilder's worth the detour.  My top five for him would be

 

1. Witness For The Prosecution - greatest courtroom film ever, Ducky!

2. Double Indemnity - top 10 noir

3. A Foreign Affair - perfect movie on the confused nature of the occupation

4. The Lost Weekend - still the best film on alcoholism

5. The Fortune Cookie - my favorite Lemmon / Matthau combo

 

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...and also, I add that divided opinion about One, Two, Three may have had something to do with its undeservedly poor showing at the Academy Awards, I believe it was nominated solely for Black and White cinematography- nothing for the writing, direction or Cagney, the last snub being really egregious since the nominees were Charles Boyer in Fanny (charming and very, very good, but a supporting role or a least one that's not central in the story, and as much as I loathe Chevalier in everything else he ever did, he's better); Spencer Tracy and (the surprise winner) Maximillian Schell for Judgement at Nuremberg, another pair of roles that could easily be labeled supporting (and Schell didn't exactly go on to set the world on fire after winning), Stuart Whitman in The Mark (saw it recently and was not impressed) and (the guy who should've won) Paul Newman in The Hustler, maybe the only performance of the year better than Cagney's. 

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I'd say my top five of his films (as a director only) are:

 

1. Witness For The Prosecution - greatest courtroom film ever, Ducky!

"DAAAAAAAAAMN YOU, DAAAAAAAAMN YOU!!!!"

 

Just kidding.

 

That's the line I always remember from the film, and it works really well for getting you out of jury duty if you're ever called to serve. Just yell that at whichever side is interviewing you, they'll send you right home then and there with your five bucks and everything.

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"DAAAAAAAAAMN YOU, DAAAAAAAAMN YOU!!!!"

 

 

That's the line I always remember from the film, and it works really well for getting you out of jury duty if you're ever called to serve. Just yell that at whichever side is interviewing you, they'll send you right home then and there with your five bucks and everything.

 

Thanks for that advice, LHF.

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went to the wikipedia page for One, Two, Three; these were some fascinating tidbits I just had to share:

 

Homages and references
  • The film makes several references to Cagney's earlier films, including a Cagney impression from Red Buttons, and the grapefruit-to-the-face incident from The Public Enemy. Additionally, the cuckoo clock in McNamara's office plays "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Cagney also refers to his contemporary Edward G. Robinson by using his "Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico?" line from Little Caesar, which was a competitor of The Public Enemy.
  •  
  • The Cold War is referenced, with one joke spoken by an apparatchik seeming to foreshadow the Cuban Missile Crisis: "We have trade agreement with Cuba: they send us cigars, we send them rockets."[4]
  •  
  • Cagney noted that he quit Hollywood after this film due to fatigue from an inordinate number of lines in a lengthy movie helmed by a demanding Wilder and to a feeling of jealousy when he heard from a friend about to set off on a leisurely yachting trip.[7]
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"DAAAAAAAAAMN YOU, DAAAAAAAAMN YOU!!!!"

 

Just kidding.

 

That's the line I always remember from the film, and it works really well for getting you out of jury duty if you're ever called to serve. Just yell that at whichever side is interviewing you, they'll send you right home then and there with your five bucks and everything.

 

The only time I ever got called for jury duty,. I told a defendant's lawyer in a traffic case that I couldn't in good conscience give a fair hearing to an SUV driver who collided with a subcompact.  I was thanked for my honesty and given $15.00 for my admission, and I didn't even have to shell out for a wig and a fake scar.

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