George M. Cohan began acting as a child with his family. As an adult, George writes and stars in some of the best plays of the era. Most of his plays are musicals wherein George did a lot of singing and dancing. He became known for his patriotic plays which gave the world some great songs such as Yankee Doodle Dandy and Over There. During the war, George tried to enlist, but was over the age limit. He continued his Broadway career well into old age until he retired to a modest home out in the country to enjoy his remaining years.
The review of this Movie prepared by Brandon Swenson
Only 1942 Hollywood could show an aging songwriter stepping in with a parade and challenged to sing a patriotic song which he wrote. And George M. Cohan wrote quite a few.
James Cagney's Best Actor performance takes place in flashback at the White House where he is summoned to receive a Medal of Honor for his body of work. He tells his bio to President Franklin Roosevelt, whom he is portraying in his show, “I'd Rather Be Right."
Cohan describes his early life as a Vaudeville performer touring America with his parents and sister, and how he matures and partners with producer Sam Harris. His ups, downs and true loves weave the well-explained circumstances of many of his 80 plays and 500 hit songs, including “I'm A Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Give My Regards To Broadway,” “Mary,” “You're A Grand Old Flag,” and of course, the rousing WWI anthem, “Over There.”
Although Cagney's character is a bit glib and constantly wisecracking, his relationships with family, business associates and competitors are well-defined. And of course, his superb dancing and physical moves may come as a surprise to gangster-movie purists. This is particularly evident in an scene he admittedly ad-libbed near the film's end.
Perhaps with America again at war, a classic like “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is just what we need to enjoy.
The review of this Movie prepared by Angry Jim Magin