Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Damn Yankees

#100 Yankee Doodle Dandy directed by Michale Curtiz

Give my regards to Broadway, and to Calvin & Hobbes, as well.

Coming in next on AFI's glorious list (or last rather) is Yankee Doodle Dandy. Jimmy Cagney stars in this bio-pic of vaudeville and Broadway star George M. Cohan (Not Cohen).

If you don't like singin', dancin', or America-in' you won't like this one. Like Broadway and vaudeville this flick is way over the top, but it works for itself. The premise is a little weak, but probably true (Cohan tells his life story to FDR before receiving a congressional medal of honor). Also its a bit self-serving, as Cohan scripted the movie and executive produced it as well. Throw a bunch of flag wavin' "I want to hump America songs" in there and you got a big ol' can of corn.

However, it works. Cagney is amazing. Any chance he gets - like Cohan - he steals all attention. Watching him dance conjures of memories (although brief) of wanting to be a tap-dancer - I still think it'd be pretty cool. The chemistry with his family (real-life sister plays that role) and wife is staggering. Tears were in mine eye when his father dies (sorry to spoil that, but it is a bio-pic, dads get old and die).

Cohan is proud of his Irish heritage and worked the side-shows as a little leprechaun tap-dancer in the ol' days. It makes him look like a pretty paddy. Stereotypes are a plenty here as most African Americans aren't depicted in the best of lights. I guess that's just how movies were in the 1940s.

This movie doesn't pretend to be a real musical and annoy me, so that's nice. All the songs are done on stage, George isn't just eating dinner and randomly bursting into song, so I can appreciate that - more realistic.

There's one scene where George cons a slightly stupid German dude into producing a play he wrote that got me. I think I can always get behind the classic pulling one over off-the-boat-wealthy-German gag.

So YDD was good. I liked it better than Unforgiven.
UPDATE on Gone with the Wind -
This book is 1000 pages; so glad on started with a short one. I'm getting there though, so expect my expose on Scarlett O'Hara soon. I have a long train ride back from DC, so maybe I can bang it out then.


The Lady Doth Protest said...

Danny Devito I love your work -- and yours Sam.

Ive seen this movie in live-musical form (at LaSalle highschool) its the epitome of Americana (BS) but, for some reason, it works. Good review. You hit the nail on the head. More danny devito pics..PLEASE!

The Lady Doth Protest said...

i was a sicko and thought his head getting crushed was the funniest part...when the kid puked haha. good stuff. im evil and nuttier than a squirrel on lasalle's campus. hope all is well. xoxo