Thursday, July 03, 2014

Cagney at His Best

Every year when the Fourth of July draws near, I can’t help thinking about James Cagney’s splendid portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. To me,  Cagney was never better. Perhaps I’m biased because Yankee Doodle Dandy ranks as such an outstanding musical, and that’s my favorite movie genre. Or maybe because my great uncle Charley Brown substituted for George M. Cohan in roadshow productions of his famous musicals.

Still, even though Cagney earned numerous honors for his on-screen work in gangster roles, it was his brilliant performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy that earned him a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar. Because I’m such an avid movie musical fan, my other favorite Cagney films are Footlight Parade and The Seven Little Foys, which also required him to sing and/or dance. And what wonderful and unique dancing he did!  It’s interesting to note that Cagney started out in show biz as a dancer. No wonder Yankee Doodle Dandy was his favorite film.  

Here’s hoping Turner Classic Movies airs this terrific patriotic movie on July 4th again this year!   

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