A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Yankee Doodle Dandy
"Yankee Doodle Dandy" is a biopic covering the life of patriotic song and dance man George M. Cohan. After his latest play "I'd Rather Be Right" where he portrays FDR, the president himself summons him to the Oval Office where Cohan takes him through his life starting as a brazen lad performing the circuit with his mother, father, and sister to his partnership with producer and friend Sam Harris to his Broadway triumphs and his marriage with his lovely wife Mary. From the instant James Cagney appears on screen, he grabs the viewer and never lets go. Playing against type, Cagney is a revelation in a Academy Award winning performance as he taps and sings his way with gusto through Cohan's life. Directed by Michael Curtiz, an auteur who doesn't get enough credit when you think about his resume ("Casablanca", "The Adventures of Robin Hood"), the film is a wonderful blend of lavish stage productions, including great songs such as "Over There", "Harrigan", and the title tune, as well as personal segments from Cohan's life. Walter Huston, as his father, Joan Leslie as his wife Mary, and Richard Whorf as Sam provide fine support as well. Cagney was an actor of incredible presence who captured the screen unlike any other performer. "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is a wonderful tribute to both his skills as a performer and the life of George M. Cohan.