White Heat

"Excellent"

White Heat Review


Norman Bates had nothing on Cody Jarrett. When it comes to love for his mother, Cody (James Cagney) and Ma (Margaret Wycherly) are as thick as thieves... which they are all well. The Jarrett gang is a merciless group led by the unflinchingly evil Cody. Even when Cody is in jail -- as he is for half the film -- he's still running the gang without missing a beat.

Cagney had been out of the gangster scene for nearly a decade, but he made his triumphant return to the genre here in one of his most memorable roles ever. It's got little to do with the plot, however. Cody's gang plans a big heist, while an undercover cop infiltrates his gang in prison, after saving Cody from an assassination attempt. Finally, once Cody is out and the heist is underway, the "copper" betrayal is revealed, and things go south as the cops close in (very slowly -- during a 15-minute sequence with the cops using directional radios to locate the car they're driving -- it must've been a crazy high-tech idea at the time, but the rotating antennae and map plotting come off as tediously dull today).

Ultimately, Cody makes his last stand, screaming out his famous "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" as he goes down in flames. And it's Cagney's unforgettable dialogue and brazen attitude that make White Heat a classic. Strangely, many people seem to omit it from the classic gangster canon -- and it's probably due to the combination of too-tedious plot and a meaningless title that have kept it out of the ranks of films like The Public Enemy. But never mind all that. If you're looking for Cagney's best gangster role ever, you got it right here, on the top of the world.

The new DVD includes a commentary track, featurette, and Leonard Maltin intro and archival material.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 3rd September 1949

Distributed by: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 28

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Raoul Walsh

Producer: Louis F. Edelman

Starring: as Arthur 'Cody' Jarrett, as Verna Jarrett, Edmond O'Brien as Vic Pardo, as Ma Jarrett, as Big Ed Somers, as Philip Evans, as 'Cotton' Valletti, as Daniel Winston, as Roy Parker, as Zuckie, as Payroll guard at chemical plant, Ian MacDonald as Creel, as Ryley

Also starring: ,

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