Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy

James Cagney
Director: Michael Curtiz, Hugh MacMullan Cast: James Cagney
James Cagney
, Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie
Michael Curtiz, Hugh MacMullan,

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Overview

Yankee Doodle Dandy is no more the true-life story of George M. Cohan than The Jolson Story was the unvarnished truth about Al Jolson -- but who the heck cares? Dandy has song, dance, pathos, pageantry, uproarious comedy, and, best of all, James Cagney at his Oscar-winning best. After several failed attempts to bring the life of legendary, flag-waving song-and-dance man Cohan to the screen, Warners scenarist Robert Buckner opted for the anecdotal approach, unifying the film's largely unrelated episodes with a flashback framework. Summoned to the White House by President Roosevelt, the aging Cohan is encouraged to relate the events leading up to this momentous occasion. He recalls his birth on the Fourth of July, 1878; his early years as a cocky child performer in his family's vaudeville act; his decision to go out as a "single"; his sealed-with-a-handshake partnership with writer/producer Sam Harris (Richard Whorf); his first Broadway success, 1903's Little Johnny Jones; his blissful marriage to winsome wife Mary (a fictional amalgam of Cohan's two wives, played by Joan Leslie -- who, incredibly, was only 17 at the time); his patriotic civilian activities during World War I, culminating with his writing of that conflict's unofficial anthem "Over There" (performed by Nora Bayes, as played by Frances Langford); the deaths of his sister, Josie (played by Cagney's real-life sister Jeanne), his mother, Nellie (Rosemary DeCamp), and his father, Jerry (Walter Huston); his abortive attempt to retire; and his triumphant return to Broadway in Rodgers & Hart's I'd Rather Be Right. His story told, Cohan is surprised -- and profoundly moved -- when FDR presents him with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first such honor bestowed upon an entertainer. His eyes welling up with tears, Cohan expresses his gratitude by invoking his old vaudeville curtain speech: "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you." Glossing over such unsavory moments in Cohan's life as his bitter opposition of the formation of Actor's Equity -- not to mention George M.'s intense hatred of FDR! -- Yankee Doodle Dandy offers the George M. Cohan that people in 1942 wanted to see (proof of the pudding was the film's five-million-dollar gross). And besides, the plot and its fabrications were secondary to those marvelous Cohan melodies -- "Give My Regards to Broadway," "Harrigan," "Mary," "You're a Grand Old Flag," "45 Minutes from Broadway," and the title tune -- performed with brio by Cagney (who modifies his own loose-limbed dancing style in order to imitate Cohan's inimitable stiff-legged technique) and the rest of the spirited cast. Beyond its leading players, movie buffs will have a ball spotting the myriad of familiar character actors parading before the screen: S.Z. Sakall, George Tobias, Walter Catlett, George Barbier, Eddie Foy Jr. (playing his own father), Frank Faylen, Minor Watson, Tom Dugan, John Hamilton, and on and on and on. In addition to Cagney, music directors Ray Heindorf and Heinz Roemheld also won Oscars for their efforts.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/14/2014
UPC: 0888574042714
Original Release: 1942
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Time: 2:06:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Cagney George M. Cohan
Joan Leslie Mary Cohan
Walter Huston Jerry Cohan
Richard Whorf Sam Harris
Irene Manning Fay Templeton
Jeanne Cagney Josie Cohan
George Tobias Dietz
Rosemary de Camp Nellie Cohan
Frances Langford Nora Bayes
George Barbier Erlanger
S.Z. Sakall Schwab
Walter Catlett Manager
Douglas Croft George M. Cohan, Age 13
Eddie Foy Eddie Foy
Minor Watson Ed Albee
Chester Clute Harold Goff
Odette Myrtil Mme. Bartholdi
Patsy Lee Parsons Josie Cohan, age 12
Vivian Austin Pianist
Wallis Clark Theodore Roosevelt
Michael Curtiz Actor
Mari Jo James Sister Act
Jack Young The President
Eddie Acuff Reporter
Murray Alper Wise Guy
Leon Belasco Magician
Henry Blair George M. Cohari, Age 7
Walter Brooke Reporter
Leslie Brooks Chorus Girls in "Little Johnny Jones" Number
Georgia Carroll Betsy Ross
Dick Chandlee Teenager
Spencer Charters Stage Manager
William B. Davidson New York Stage Manager
Ann Doran Receptionist
Tom Dugan Actor at Railway Station
Frank Faylen Sergeant
Pat Flaherty White House guard
James Flavin Union Army Veteran
Creighton Hale Telegraph operator
John Hamilton Recruiting officer
Harry Hayden Dr. Lewellyn
William Hopper Reporter
Joyce Horne Teenager
Thomas E. Jackson Stage manager
Edward Keane Critic
Dorothy Kelly Sister act
Fred Kelsey Irish Cop in "Peck's Bad Boy"
Phyllis Kennedy Fanny
Audrey Long Receptionist
Jo Ann Marlowe Josie Cohan, age 6
Frank Mayo Hotel clerk
George Meeker Hotel Clerk
Dolores Moran Girl
Lee Murray Jockey
Garry Owen Army clerk
Francis Pierlot Dr. Anderson
Joyce Reynolds Teenager
Ruth Robinson Nurse
Clinton Rosemond White House butler
Charles B. Smith Teenager
Sailor Vincent Schultz in "Peck's Bad Boy"
Dick Wessel Union Army veteran
Poppy Wilde Chorus girl "Little Johnny Jones"
Joan Winfield Sally
Bill Edwards Reporter
William Forrest 1st critic
Sid Saylor Star Boarder
Lon McCallister Actor

Technical Credits
Michael Curtiz Director
Hugh MacMullan Director
George J. Amy Editor
Milo Anderson Costumes/Costume Designer
John Boyle Choreography
Robert Buckner Original Story,Screenwriter
William Cagney Associate Producer
George M. Cohan Score Composer
William Collier Consultant/advisor
Seymour Felix Choreography
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Edmund Joseph Screenwriter
LeRoy J. Prinz Choreography
Heinz Roemheld Score Composer
Hal B. Wallis Producer
Jack L. Warner Producer
Perc Westmore Makeup
Carl Jules Weyl Art Director

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