|Yankee Doodle Dandy|
Theatrical release poster by Bill Gold
|Directed by||Michael Curtiz|
|Produced by|| Hal B. Wallis |
Jack L. Warner
|Written by|| Robert Buckner |
Julius J. Epstein (uncredited)
Philip G. Epstein (uncredited)
|Starring|| James Cagney |
|Music by||Score and Songs|
George M. Cohan
|Cinematography||James Wong Howe|
|Edited by||George Amy|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway".It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and Richard Whorf, and features Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp, Jeanne Cagney, and Vera Lewis. Joan Leslie's singing voice was partially dubbed by Sally Sweetland.
The film was written by Robert Buckner and Edmund Joseph, and directed by Michael Curtiz. According to the special edition DVD, significant and uncredited improvements were made to the script by the twin brothers Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein.
The film was a major hit for Warner Brothers. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three.
In 1993, Yankee Doodle Dandy was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", and in 1998, the movie was ranked #100 on the 100 Years...100 Movies list, by the American Film Institute.
In the early days of World War II, Cohan comes out of retirement to star as President Roosevelt in the Rodgers and Hart musical I'd Rather Be Right. On the first night, he is summoned to meet the president at the White House, who presents him with a Congressional Gold Medal (though the Cohan character on screen incorrectly identifies the award as the Congressional Medal of Honor). Cohan is overcome and chats with Roosevelt, recalling his early days on the stage. The film flashes back to his supposed birth on July 4, whilst his father is performing on the vaudeville stage.
Cohan and his sister join the family act as soon as they can learn to dance, and soon The Four Cohans are performing successfully. But George gets too cocky as he grows up and is blacklisted by theatrical producers for being troublesome. He leaves the act and hawks his songs unsuccessfully around to producers. In partnership with Sam Harris, another struggling writer, he finally interests a producer and they are on the road to success. He also marries Mary, a young singer/dancer.
As his star ascends, he persuades his now struggling parents to join his act, eventually vesting some of his valuable theatrical properties in their name.
Cohan retires, but returns to the stage several times, culminating in the role of the U.S. president. As he leaves the White House, after receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from the president, he descends a set of stairs while performing a tap dance (which Cagney thought up before the scene was filmed and undertook without rehearsal). Outside, he joins a military parade, where the soldiers are singing "Over There", and, at first, he isn't singing. Not knowing that Cohan is the song's composer, one of them asks if he knows the words. Cohan's response is a smile before joining in to sing too.
Cagney, like Cohan, was an Irish-American who had been a song-and-dance man early in his career. His unique and seemingly odd presentation style, of half-singing and half-reciting the songs, reflected the style that Cohan himself used. His natural dance style and physique were also a good match for Cohan. Newspapers at the time reported that Cagney intended to consciously imitate Cohan's song-and-dance style, but to play the normal part of the acting in his own style. Although director Curtiz was known as a taskmaster, he also gave his actors some latitude. Cagney and other players came up with a number of "bits of business", as Cagney called them, meaning improvised lines or action in theater parlance.
A number of the biographical particulars of the movie are Hollywood-ized fiction, such as omitting the fact that Cohan divorced and remarried, combining Cohan's two wives, Ethel and Agnes, into a single character named Mary, and taking some liberties with the chronology of Cohan's life and the order of his parents' deaths. In one scene, after Cohan suffers a flop with an atypical non-musical drama, "Popularity," he composes a telegram apologizing to the public. He then walks out of the Western Union office to find newspaper sellers announcing the torpedoing of the Lusitania. In reality, the failed play was staged in 1906, and the Lusitania's sinking occurred in 1915.
Nevertheless, care was taken to make the sets, costumes, and dance steps match the original stage presentations. Twice, Cagney sprained an ankle while mastering Cohan's stiff-legged dance style. This effort was aided significantly by a former associate of Cohan's, Jack Boyle, who knew the original productions well. Boyle also appeared in the film in some of the dancing groups.
Cagney, as Cohan, is shown performing as a singing and dancing version of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although it was well known, the reality of Roosevelt's use of a wheelchair after polio was not emphasized at the time. In the film, Roosevelt never leaves his chair when meeting Cohan.
Cohan himself served as a consultant during the production of the film. Due to his failing health, his actual involvement in the film was limited. However, Cohan did see the film before he died (from cancer) and he approved of Cagney's portrayal.Because of Cohan's failing health, Warner Brothers moved up the scheduled gala premiere from July 4 to May 29; the original date had been chosen because of the film's patriotic theme and because Cohan really had been born on the Fourth of July, as he wrote in the lyrics of his "Yankee Doodle Dandy." In the end, Cohan lived for several more months after the film's release.
The movie poster for this film was the first ever produced by noted poster designer Bill Gold.
Cagney had initially been opposed to a biopic of George M. Cohan's life, having disliked Cohan since the Actors' Equity Strike in 1919, in which he sided with the producers. In 1940, Cagney was named, along with 15 other Hollywood figures, in the grand jury testimony of John R. Leech, the self-described 'chief functionary' of the Los Angeles Communist Party who had been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The New York Times printed the allegation that Cagney was a communist on its front page. Cagney refuted the accusation and Martin Dies, Jr. made a statement to the press clearing Cagney. William Cagney, one of the film's producers, is reported to have said to his brother that "we're going to have to make the goddamndest patriotic picture that's ever been made. I think it's the Cohan story".
The film nearly doubled the earnings of Captains of the Clouds (1942), Cagney's previous effort, bringing in more than $6 million in rentals to Warner Bros.
According to Warner Bros records the film earned $4,631,000 domestically and $1,892,000 foreign.
This made it the biggest box-office success in the company's history up to that time. The star earned his contractual $150,000 salary and nearly half a million dollars in profit sharing.According to Variety , the film earned $4.8 million in theatrical rentals through its North American release.
Contemporary reviews were highly positive. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times said that film patrons would do well to see it, for "you will find as warm and delightful a musical picture as has hit the screen in years, a corking good entertainment and as affectionate, if not as accurate, a film biography as has ever—yes, ever—been made ... there is so much in this picture and so many persons that deserve their meed of praise that every one connected with it can stick a feather in his hat and take our word—it's dandy!"Variety called the film "as entertaining as any top filmusical ever made ... James Cagney does a Cohan of which the original George M. might well be proud." Harrison's Reports wrote: "Excellent! Audiences should find this musical comedy, which is based on the life of George M. Cohan, one of the most sparkling and delightful musical pictures that have ever been brought to the screen. Much of its entertainment value is due to the exceptionally fine performance of James Cagney, whose impersonation of Mr. Cohan is uncanny—his gestures, his talk, and his dancing, are done to perfection." John Mosher of The New Yorker called the film "a complete delight, an extravaganza of tunes the country has liked for decades," although he considered it "dubious" as a biography of Cohan.
The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (James Cagney), Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound Recording (Nathan Levinson). It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Walter Huston), Best Director, Best Film Editing for George Amy, Best Picture and Best Writing, Original Story.In 1993, Yankee Doodle Dandy was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
American Film Institute recognition
James Francis Cagney Jr. was an American actor and dancer on stage and in film. Known for his consistently energetic performances, distinctive vocal style, and deadpan comic timing, he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances. He is remembered for playing multifaceted tough guys in films such as The Public Enemy (1931), Taxi! (1932), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), The Roaring Twenties (1939) and White Heat (1949), finding himself typecast or limited by this reputation earlier in his career. He was able to negotiate dancing opportunities in his films and ended up winning the Academy Award for his role in the musical Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). In 1999 the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among its list of greatest male stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Orson Welles described Cagney as "maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of a camera".
I'd Rather Be Right is a 1937 musical with a book by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and music by Richard Rodgers. The story is a Depression-era political satire set in New York City, about Washington politics and political figures, such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The plot centers on Peggy Jones and her boyfriend Phil, who needs a raise in order for them to get married. The President steps in and solves their dilemma.
Edwin Fitzgerald known professionally as Eddie Foy and Eddie Foy Sr., was an American actor, comedian, dancer and vaudevillian.
Joan Leslie was an American actress, dancer, and vaudevillian who, during the Hollywood Golden Age, appeared in such films as High Sierra, Sergeant York, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.
"The Yankee Doodle Boy", also well known as "(I'm a) Yankee Doodle Dandy" is a patriotic song from the Broadway musical Little Johnny Jones written by George M. Cohan. The play opened at the Liberty Theater on November 7, 1904. The play concerns the trials and tribulations of a fictional American jockey, Johnny Jones, who rides a horse named Yankee Doodle in the English Derby. Cohan incorporates snippets of several popular traditional American songs into his lyrics of this song, as he often did with his songs. The song was performed by James Cagney in the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy, in which he played Cohan.
"Over There" is a 1917 song written by George M. Cohan that was popular with the United States military and public during both world wars. It is a patriotic song designed to galvanize American young men to enlist and fight the "Hun". The song is best remembered for a line in its chorus: "The Yanks are coming."
"Give My Regards to Broadway" is a song written by George M. Cohan for his musical play Little Johnny Jones which debuted in 1904 in New York.
Yankee Doodle Daffy is a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released on June 5, 1943, directed by Friz Freleng and written by Tedd Pierce. The short was the second Technicolor Looney Tunes entry to feature Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. It is also one of the handfuls of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to have fallen into the public domain.
Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway is a three-act musical by George M. Cohan written about New Rochelle, New York. The title refers to the 45-minute train ride from New Rochelle to Broadway.
Little Johnny Jones is a musical by George M. Cohan. The show introduced Cohan's tunes "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy." The "Yankee Doodle" character was inspired by real-life Hall of Fame jockey Tod Sloan.
George M! is a Broadway musical based on the life of George M. Cohan, the biggest Broadway star of his day who was known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway." The book for the musical was written by Michael Stewart, John Pascal, and Francine Pascal. Music and lyrics were, of course, by George M. Cohan himself, with revisions for the musical by Cohan's daughter, Mary Cohan.
Edwin Fitzgerald Jr., known professionally as Eddie Foy Jr., was an American stage, film, and television actor.
The Seven Little Foys is a Technicolor in VistaVision 1955 comedy film directed by Melville Shavelson starring Bob Hope as Eddie Foy. One highlight of the film is an energetic tabletop dance showdown sequence with Bob Hope as Eddie Foy and James Cagney as George M. Cohan. The story of Eddie Foy Sr. and the Seven Little Foys inspired a TV version in 1964 and a stage musical version, which premiered in 2007.
Something to Sing About, (1937), re-released in 1947 as Battling Hoofer, is the second and final film James Cagney made for Grand National Pictures – the first being Great Guy – before mending relations with and returning to Warner Bros. It is one of the few films besides Footlight Parade and Yankee Doodle Dandy to showcase Cagney's singing and dancing talents. It was directed by Victor Schertzinger, who also wrote the music and lyrics of the original songs, as well as the story that Austin Parker's screenplay is based on. Cagney's co-stars are Evelyn Daw and William Frawley, and the film features performances by Gene Lockhart and Mona Barrie.
Hollywood Canteen is a 1944 American musical romantic comedy film starring Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Dane Clark and features many stars in cameo roles. and produced by Warner Bros. The film was written and directed by Delmer Daves and received three Oscar nominations.
Where Do We Go from Here is a 1945 romantic musical comedy-fantasy film directed by Gregory Ratoff and starring Fred MacMurray, Joan Leslie, June Haver, Gene Sheldon, Anthony Quinn and Fortunio Bonanova. It was produced by Twentieth Century-Fox. Joan Leslie's singing voice was dubbed by Sally Sweetland.
George Michael Cohan was an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and theatrical producer.
The Hard Way is a 1943 Warner Bros. musical drama film directed by Vincent Sherman. The film was based on a story by Irwin Shaw which was reportedly based on Ginger Rogers' relationship with her first husband, Jack Pepper and her own mother, Lela.
LeRoy Jerome Prinz was an American choreographer, director and producer, who was involved in the production of dozens of motion pictures, mainly for Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers, from 1929 through 1958, and choreographed Broadway musicals. He was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Dance Direction in the 1930s, and won the Golden Globe in 1958.
Sally Sweetland was an American soprano singer and teacher.
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