A re-post from my other classic film and multimedia blog, “At The Matinee.”
Around the Fourth of July, many fans of classic cinema will be looking forward to watching one of the definitive perennial greats in screen entertainment.
James Cagney in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942)
That definitive classic is 1942’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Hal B. Wallis, the film features James Cagney (as George M. Cohan), Joan Leslie (as Mary Cohan), Walter Huston (as Jerry Cohan), Richard Whorf (as Sam Harris), Irene Manning (as Fay Tempelton), George Tobias (as Dietz), Rosemary DeCamp (as Nellie Cohan), Jeanne Cagney (as Josie Cohan), Frances Langford (as Nora Bayes), S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall (as Schwab), and Eddie Foy, Jr. (as the senior Eddie Foy).
Based off the story of real-life songwriter George M. Cohan (1878-1942), the film goes into the life, times and career of the multi-talented entertainer and songwriter, who brought such popular classic songs including “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Over There,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” just to name a few.
When the film premiered in New York at the Hollywood Theatre in May 1942, it was tremendous hit, and was one of the top-grossing motion pictures of that year. According to The New York Times, the audience on opening night purchased $5,750,000 worth of war bonds to help America’s war effort during the Second World War.
1942: A prolific box office year for Warners
For Warner Bros. (who acquired the rights from Cohan for his life story, where Warners’ competitors declined Cohan’s story throughout the latter years of his life), it would be the studio’s top-grossing film at the time (along with Warners’ other popular noteworthy films released that same year, including “Casablanca,” “Air Force,” “George Washington Slept Here” and “Now, Voyager.”
Winner of three Academy Awards
The film won three Academy Awards for Best Actor (James Cagney), Best Sound Recording (Nathan Levinson and the Warner Bros. sound department), and Best Music, Scoring of a Motion Picture (Ray Heindorf and and Heinz Romfeld).
Warner Archive Blu-Ray
Warners has released Yankee Doodle Dandy on Blu-Ray (through the studio’s “Archive” line), from a new high-definition transfer (along with several extras ported over from the DVD release). It is also available for streaming on Amazon, iTunes and Warners’ YouTube VOD service.
Why you should watch “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942)
To all fellow readers- if you haven’t seen “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” see it when you have the chance to. It is an entertaining and enlightening motion picture about the life and times of George Cohan, portrayed by James Cagney (in one of his few non-gangster roles on the screen).
“Yankee Doodle Dandy” is one of the best examples of uplifting screen entertainment. You won’t be disappointed!
Turner Classic Movies will be showing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942) on the Fourth: As part of a collection of entertaining films related to America’s day of independence, the 1942 classic will be shown at 10:45 p.m., right after the 1962 Meredith Wilson musical “The Music Man” (featuring Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds and Ron Howard), which will be shown at 8 p.m.
Other films that will be shown will include the 1972 film adaptation of the musical “1776” (featuring William Daniels, Howard Da Silva and Ken Howard) at 1 a.m., followed by “Thousands Cheer” (1943, featuring Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly and Mary Ator) at 4 a.m.
Before the primetime offerings, the network will show various classics related to Americana, including “Judge Hardy and Son” (1939, featuring Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone and Ann Rutherford) at 6 a.m., “The Howards of Virginia” (1940, with Cary Grant & Sir Cedric Hardwicke) at 7:30 a.m., “John Paul Jones” (1959, with Robert Stack) at 9:30 a.m., “The Scarlet Coat” (1955, with Cornel Wilde, Anne Francis, and George Sanders) at 11:45 a.m., “The Devil’s Disciple” (1959, with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Lawrence Oliver) at 1:30 p.m., Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939, with James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold and Claude Rains) at 3 p.m. and Robert Wise’s film adaptation of the musical “West Side Story” (1961, with Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris) at 5:15 P.M.
The author of “Silver Screen Reflections” wishes all readers a happy, safe and exciting fourth- do something interesting and fun!
Questions/Comments? Drop a line at the comments section!