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10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - FINISHED! Thank you, it's been a treat

 
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10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - FINISHED! Thank... - 31/7/2009 1:24:15 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
One of my favourite actors of his generation, Cagney was a talent and a gentleman and a talented gentleman. Whilst hardly either informed or definitive, I hope this list will cover the main bases of his awe-inspiring body of work.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 31/5/2010 2:33:48 AM >


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Post #: 1
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 31/7/2009 9:24:18 PM   
DCMaximo


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From: Nottingham via Aidy Boothroyd's Palace of Wisdom
Awesome, looking forward to this already. I'd rate Cagney as my favourite actor, so looking forward to seeing your picks and in what order.

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Post #: 2
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 31/7/2009 9:53:10 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: DCMaximo

Awesome, looking forward to this already. I'd rate Cagney as my favourite actor, so looking forward to seeing your picks and in what order.


Uh-oh, hopefully we'll roughly agree - I don't want this to turn into the Godard discussion on rawlinson's thread...

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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to DCMaximo)
Post #: 3
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 31/7/2009 10:16:42 PM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
The Godard discussion eventually turned into a more surreal one (that was also a lot funnier), but I see your point.

I haven't seen any Cagney, but I have intended to in the past (I really like gangster movies a lot). Just never got round to it, I guess.

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Post #: 4
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 31/7/2009 11:03:45 PM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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From: Central Park Zoo
One of my favourite actors, he never fails to completely hold my attention. Looking forward to the list!

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Post #: 5
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 1/8/2009 5:13:37 AM   
siegfried


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From: Long ago and far away
A first rate actor, and far more versatile than many people who only know his tough guy/gangster persona give him credit for.
I'm hoping his marvellous performance in Billy Wilder's One Two Three will be high on your list.

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RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 1/8/2009 9:08:09 AM   
chris_scott01


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When Orson Welles was asked who he thought was the greatest actor he said James Cagney.  I think it was on the Parkinson interview in the 70s.  Always entertaining, great range and great comedian.

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Post #: 7
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 3/8/2009 6:04:19 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
10) Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
      (Dir.: Gordon Douglas, 1950)


 



One of James Cagney's most subtle and remarkable talents was his ability to look ugly on cue. By moving his face, he altered not only his expression but his entire appearance, creating either admirable or (more often) horrific characters with power and precision simply through well-judged use of his unique features. In this film, he manages to look stunningly ugly, his expression wearing the strain of killer Ralph Cotter's decades of anger and frustration. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is often forgotten, the previous year's White Heat frequently named as the last of Cagney's gangster films, but it is nonetheless a very strong performance, although his Ralph Cotter may not be as iconic as his Cody Jarrett.

Through the film's somewhat unwieldy narrative, Cagney is given the formidable task of playing a man who murders his own partner in order to elude capture during a prison break whilst somehow generating enough sympathy for this psychopath to sustain a romantic subplot. Nobody but Cagney could provoke an audience to grant redemption to the irredeemable with such apparent ease.

A perfect example of Cagney's subtle and intelligent style is in the way he portrays Cotter's two overlapping relationships. In his scenes with Barbara Payton, he is monstrous – a manipulative sadist who blackmails his dead partner's sister into aiding his scheme to corrupt the local police force, and into an abusive relationship with him. Their interactions are a dizzying mixture of disturbing violence and unhealthy lust, Cagney's Cotter clearly dominating the naïve Payton, in complete control of her. Psychologically, these are some of Cagney's finest, most complex moments.

Contrast this to his scenes with Helena Carter, a society princess who eventually leads to his downfall. When meeting her father, he is painfully polite, his speech clipped and graceful, a million miles away from his gangster persona. Yet underneath, we can sense his devious mind at work, ready to spill over at any time and destroy everything in sight. All in all, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye gives Cagney a chance to develop the psychological complexities of White Heat and once more exhibit his unequalled gift for balancing the unbalanced.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 3/8/2009 6:07:14 PM >


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Post #: 8
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 4/8/2009 1:53:55 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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From: Central Park Zoo
Great. One I've not seen

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Post #: 9
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 4/8/2009 10:08:46 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54624
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Oooo - timing. It was on TV last week too.

I'm not a great fan of the film although I think Cagney is watchable as always. Interesting first choice, though.

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Post #: 10
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 4/8/2009 10:37:52 AM   
TheDudeAbides


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Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

Oooo - timing. It was on TV last week too.

I'm not a great fan of the film although I think Cagney is watchable as always. Interesting first choice, though.


I didn't think the film was as good as people kept telling me, either. But I did think he was brilliant - mind you, the fact that I'm doing the list kind of shows that...

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"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

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Post #: 11
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 4/8/2009 10:40:04 AM   
elab49


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I think the av might have been a bit of a hint, too.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 12
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 4/8/2009 10:41:33 AM   
TheDudeAbides


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From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
What can I say? I can't resist vintage outtakes!

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The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 13
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 6/8/2009 8:01:58 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
9) One, Two, Three
  (Dir.: Billy Wilder, 1961) 



I know there are some who would like to see this performance a little higher up the list, but I can't do that in all honesty, because we really only see one side of Cagney. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that despite his previous comic roles, Cagney's real chance to shine came with Billy Wilder's biting Cold War satire, One, Two, Three. The supporting roles are all well-filled, but there's never a doubt that it's Cagney's show. One, Two, Three out-screwballs screwball, with a pace which makes His Girl Friday look like The Remains of the Day, but he carries it with superhuman vigour, especially given that he was a man in his sixties and not in the best health.

It has been said that Cagney chose to retire after this role because of the trouble he had remembering his lines, but when you see the film, you can't help but feel he was a little hard on himself. As a put-upon Coca-Cola executive in post-war Germany, he redefines the limits of manic energy, spewing out line after line in an unremitting roar which seems to fuel the film towards its hectic crescendo. Once again, Cagney holds the balance, both driving the film on to greater and greater speeds whilst simultaneously keeping the plot on track and preventing it from spiralling out of control.

Another famous anecdote, confirmed by the man himself, reports that Cagney could not stand Horst Buchwald, who plays the Communist husband of his boss' daughter, and it isn't hard to believe, as he verbally flays him time after time. This is more than comedy – Cagney's characterisation of the blustering, hardnosed career capitalist is spot on. The Red-baiting comes thick and fast, although the best example goes not to Cagney but Howard St. John: "I wouldn't touch the Russians with a ten foot pole. And I don't want anything to do with the Poles, either.”

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 6/8/2009 8:02:30 PM >


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The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 14
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 7/8/2009 12:25:25 PM   
DCMaximo


Posts: 992
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From: Nottingham via Aidy Boothroyd's Palace of Wisdom
One, Two, Three is so much fun and Cagney is great in it. I love the reference to Edward G Robinson (quoting the film Little Caesar) and it's a shame that he didn't do anything for 20 years after this, he still seems full of energy in it.


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Post #: 15
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 7/8/2009 2:22:01 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: DCMaximo

One, Two, Three is so much fun and Cagney is great in it. I love the reference to Edward G Robinson (quoting the film Little Caesar) and it's a shame that he didn't do anything for 20 years after this, he still seems full of energy in it.



Definitely. Although from what I gather, he enjoyed retirement a lot, so I guess good for him, bad for us...

Also, they already did a Carlton Banks spinoff - http://www.nbc.com/30_Rock/video/clips/black-frasier/117346/ 

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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to DCMaximo)
Post #: 16
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 7/8/2009 3:03:04 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54624
Joined: 1/10/2005
Excellent review. I didn't know the link to the semi-retirement. I mean, I could understand if he thought he'd had problems remembering a normally paced script but this? Mr Memory Man 2009 would have had problems with the pace and the lines, and Cagney is superb.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 17
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 8/8/2009 5:00:55 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 78047
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
If only he'd done The Godfather

One, Two, Three is brilliant. Very funny and Cagney is just superb. I love it.

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Post #: 18
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 12/8/2009 2:41:45 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
8) The Fighting 69th
      (Dir.: William Keighley, 1940)

  

Although successful in its day, The Fighting 69th is now a forgotten cultural curio, a fascinating piece of patriotic hokum invoking heroic memories of the First World War to prepare Americans for the Second. Cagney plays brash city tough Jerry Plunkett, who is enrolled in the famous Irish-American regiment of the title, where he treats his superiors with insolent bravado and refuses to integrate with his fellow recruits. After an act of fatal cowardice at the Front, he faces not only the wrath of his comrades but a military firing squad… unless he can pull off some miraculous redemptive feat of courage (he can).

This is a chance for Cagney to exhibit that insouciant swagger for which he became famous, and he fires off the wisecracks with flawless timing and almost musical rhythm, inflecting his dialogue with genuine Brooklyn snap, crackle and pop. Plunkett is essentially a chav – a loudmouthed braggart who falls apart when faced with real danger, and this is conveyed candidly, with Cagney unafraid to play up Plunkett’s cowardly hysterics under fire, even if it be to the detriment of his own star status. Cowardice is not a weakness generally associated with Cagney's hoodlums (depending on your interpretation of Angels with Dirty Faces, of course), but he throws himself into the required self-abasement with such conviction that one wishes he'd given some pointers to Bogart, whose attempts at appearing frightened on camera are mercifully few.

Plunkett’s transformation into a sober soldier-boy is accomplished a little too glibly by the writers (if the film had writers, rather than merely a machine into which they fed clichés), but Cagney does the best with what he’s given. In fact, in the pivotal scene opposite Pat O’Brien, another unashamedly sentimental patriot, the two actors put their heart and soul into making us believe that the combined influence of God and country can turn good-for-nothing into a hero. There’s an excellent bit of acting hiding in there, if you can fight your way through the schmaltzy music and soft-focus close-ups. Like I said, it’s as corny as they come, but it takes a hell of an actor to play a scene earnestly reciting the Lord’s Prayer and make it anything other than atrocious.

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"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

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Post #: 19
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 12/8/2009 6:37:59 PM   
DCMaximo


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From: Nottingham via Aidy Boothroyd's Palace of Wisdom
I really enjoyed The Fighting 69th, thought the interplay between Cagney and O'Brien was, as usual, totally enjoyable. Cagney as a total dick of a soldier is far more fun than reformed Cagney here.

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Post #: 20
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 13/8/2009 12:42:01 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
I was surprised actually, at how much of a tool they made him. Even at the end I thought 'Ok, so he just saved a bunch of guys... but he still got another bunch killed earlier, so...' . But the obvious friendship between O'Brien and Cagney is indeed lovely.

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The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to DCMaximo)
Post #: 21
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 19/8/2009 11:34:26 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
7) Angels With Dirty Faces
  (Dir.: Michael Curtiz, 1938



Hoodlum-and-priest must have been the old-time equivalent of black cop-white cop, because they sure wheeled out the formula time after time. This is definitely one of the better examples, starring as it does the original and best pairing - Cagney and O'Brien. Once again, we see the priest's attempts to set the hoodlum on the righteous path energetically rebuffed – until he finally gets set to meet his Maker.

All Cagney's underworld roles tend to be summed up as 'gangsters', but he never played the same guy twice. If I had the inclination or skill, I would draw up a diagram showing relative thuggishness, but instead you'll just have to imagine it. On the Cagney Scale of Downright Nasty, his Rocky Sullivan actually ranks pretty low, somewhere between his Eddie Bartlett and his Tom Powers. Rocky is tough, sure, but he wears it on his sleeve, exactly as it comes, and it flows out almost imperceptibly with his brash charm and breezy morals. When he threatens to kill Bogart's character (who is exactly as odious and terribly-acted as all Bogart's roles in Cagney movies), you don't doubt that he would do it … but somehow it doesn't really matter. It's not that kind of a movie. In fact, that Rocky Sullivan is a gangster at all seems more like background information right up until the end. Most of the film consists instead of sparkling interplay between Cagney and the Dead End Kids, a popular group of juvenile actors playing the young punks who idolise their gangster hero. Their 'street' mannerisms might make them somewhat grating to a modern audience, as apparently they were to Cagney, whom they irritated constantly with their attempts scene-stealing. He eventually had to smack one of them in the face, which apparently shut them up, fortunately for the film.

Cagney carries himself lightly and easily in Angels With Dirty Faces, a nice little physical cue that distances him from the nervous tension which racks his physiognomy throughout White Heat. Talking of physicality, that unmatched genius Cagney has for movement really comes into its own in his final scene. It's one of his best known moments and the hype surrounding it is justified - his death-house breakdown is utterly absent of cutesy acting tricks, haunting in its raw desperation. His manic frenzy is so full of wild, primal energy that one begins to wonder whether the chair will electrocute him or whether it'll be the other way around.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 19/8/2009 11:35:20 PM >


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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 22
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 20/8/2009 12:57:07 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10467
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From: the waters of Casablanca

quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides
His manic frenzy is so full of wild, primal energy that one begins to wonder whether the chair will electrocute him or whether it'll be the other way around.


There are some cracking reviewers on these pages, who I love reading, but that is one of the best lines I've read on here in ages.

As this is the first Cagney film I've seen in this list I can't comment about its relative merits to # 8, 9 and 10, but I'm still surprised to see it relatively low down on the list. This is one of those films that I've not seen for around 20 years, so its a very positive thing that I remember the spell-binding final minutes so well, but my recall of the rest of the film is beyond hazy, so maybe it doesn't hold up. But those last 10 minutes are imo an absolute masterclass in acting.

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Post #: 23
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 20/8/2009 1:14:10 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty


quote:

ORIGINAL: TheDudeAbides
His manic frenzy is so full of wild, primal energy that one begins to wonder whether the chair will electrocute him or whether it'll be the other way around.


There are some cracking reviewers on these pages, who I love reading, but that is one of the best lines I've read on here in ages.

As this is the first Cagney film I've seen in this list I can't comment about its relative merits to # 8, 9 and 10, but I'm still surprised to see it relatively low down on the list. This is one of those films that I've not seen for around 20 years, so its a very positive thing that I remember the spell-binding final minutes so well, but my recall of the rest of the film is beyond hazy, so maybe it doesn't hold up. But those last 10 minutes are imo an absolute masterclass in acting.


Thank you very much, sir! I found it a hard role to place, because the final scenes are some of the best he ever played, but most of the film isn't particularly stretching. It's very good and he's good in it, but they're fairly standard gangster territory, which he was pretty thoroughly versed in by that point.

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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 24
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 20/8/2009 1:52:11 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54624
Joined: 1/10/2005
I absolutely love the still you've chosen for the review.

quote:

because the final scenes are some of the best he ever played, but most of the film isn't particularly stretching  


Have to agree with this but ditto Prof's comment on the electric chair line.

< Message edited by elab49 -- 20/8/2009 2:08:00 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 25
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 20/8/2009 2:07:28 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
Thirded on the electric chair line. I agree perfectly on his performance, too - as my first Cagney, he's just so much fun to watch up until that point, and then he drops the facade and it's almost like the first time we're actually seeing the man behind the hoodlum.

Those Dead End Kids sure are annoying, though. I do love that story about Cagney smacking one of them in the face, because I don't doubt they would've deserved it.


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ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

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Post #: 26
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 20/8/2009 2:38:54 PM   
TheDudeAbides


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From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army

Those Dead End Kids sure are annoying, though. I do love that story about Cagney smacking one of them in the face, because I don't doubt they would've deserved it.



"Hey dere, Soapy, you little joik! Cudditout, will ya!" etc etc etc etc.

I read somewhere that they cornered Humphrey Bogart on set and stole his trousers. I swear Bogart pre-High Sierra was a complete and utter loser.

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The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 27
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 23/8/2009 2:24:28 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
6) The Man of a Thousand Faces
  (Dir.: Joseph Pevney, 1957)



If ever a film needed a dose of Cagney, it's this one, a decent but strictly by-the-numbers biopic of silent movie star and Cagney look-nothing-alike Lon Chaney. His buoyancy keeps even the drabbest scenes in this overlong melodrama afloat, and elevates the scenes which do work even further. One of the these high points is an extended insight into the process of making movies before the arrival of sound, culminating with some very well-staged reconstructions of some of Chaney's most famous scenes, with Cagney often swamped in cumbersome masks of mesh and plaster. His portrayal of the cripple being cured in The Miracle Man - tortured, writhing on the ground, he gradually snaps all his joints into place in a scene that has to be witnessed to fully appreciate Cagney's physical presence, apparently undiminished even as he approached his threescore years.

Another high point is several sequences depicting Chaney's life as a vaudevillian, a profession Cagney himself had practised prior to his arrival in Hollywood, and thus one in which he appears extremely comfortable. Funny and adept as a clown, as a challenge dancer, we are treated to a glimpse at what it would have been like to encounter Cagney's troupe on the stage of 1920s New York. Seeing the notorious gangster clowning around in silly clothes and makeup might seem strange to the viewer, but Cagney, who preferred to think of himself as a song-and-dance man rather than a screen hoodlum, is obviously completely in his element and having a wonderful time.

It is also a nice chance to see the gentle side of the actor, and to hear his 'normal' speaking voice, calm and mellifluous, particularly during his very sweet and natural interaction with his screen son. The most touching moment, however, is with the actress playing Chaney's deaf-mute mother. Chaney's wife, astonished and repulsed to discover her in-laws' disability, has made a scene at the dinner table, and a distraught Chaney slowly walks outside, with his mother following him. It is a tough scene, even for seasoned veterans: played without a word, the two actors must express their anguish and love only through facial expressions and sign language (a challenging medium which Cagney of course takes to like a duck to water). The result is a tender and convincing testament to the talents of both players. Considering the film's subject, it is surely ironic that its most astounding silent scene takes place miles away from a movie set.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 23/8/2009 2:26:33 PM >


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 28
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 23/8/2009 3:34:32 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54624
Joined: 1/10/2005
A long time since I've seen this one. I know it didn't jar, which probably means, at the least, that I saw Yankee Doodle Dandy first

Cagney seems such an odd choice for the biographical role. Not at all a quibble at the acting - and it must have been pretty rare to find someone capable of that range along with the vaudeville stuff. But age and physically - it seems kind of weird.

Was he a producer, do you know?

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 29
RE: 10 Greatest James Cagney Performances - 23/8/2009 3:58:21 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

A long time since I've seen this one. I know it didn't jar, which probably means, at the least, that I saw Yankee Doodle Dandy first

Cagney seems such an odd choice for the biographical role. Not at all a quibble at the acting - and it must have been pretty rare to find someone capable of that range along with the vaudeville stuff. But age and physically - it seems kind of weird.

Was he a producer, do you know?


I completely agree that it was a bizarre choice for the role, especially considering that Chaney died at 47, a decade younger than Cagney when he played the part. I've just looked it up in McCabe's excellent biography, and it doesn't appear Cagney was involved in production, but the guy who wrote the screenplay was a friend of his who suggested he might want to do it and it turned out that Cagney was a huge fan and leapt at the chance.

_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 30
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