Friday, July 03, 2015

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Every year when the Fourth of July is near, I think about James Cagney and his splendid performance as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. For me, Cagney was never better. Perhaps I am biased because Yankee Doodle Dandy is an outstanding musical, and that happens to be my favorite movie genre. Or because my great uncle Charley Brown substituted for George M. Cohan in roadshow productions of his famous musicals. But even though Cagney earned numerous honors for his on-screen work, it was his role in Yankee Doodle Dandy that earned him a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar – and not one of his many excellent gangster turns on film.

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 4 again this year!   

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