Friday, March 13, 2009

Breakfast With... James Cagney


You know, I saw this movie The Public Enemy (not the same story as the upcoming Michael Mann film) when I was like 16 and I've hated James Cagney ever since. I know that's not right but I can't get past it. I've yet to watch his Oscar winning performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy because he made me so mad in this movie. Poor Mae Clark. Grapefruit is yummy but not when it's on your face. Even squirting it in your eye is damn uncomfortable and that happens.

And thus ends "Breakfast With" (all 26 episodes here) for now. In the 5th week of my series, EW coopted it for their own "top 14 breakfast scenes", damn them. They started with this scene right here, which I'd forgotten about. Very famous it is.


billybil said...

It's always disturbed me that I would have liked to have had sex with James Cagney. Won't someone make me feel better by confessing the same interest?!

Anonymous said...

[crickets chirping]

Middento said...

Oh no, really? I *love* Cagney. Does this mean that you haven't seen "Footlight Parade" either? We sometimes forget that he was a really talented tapper (as well as a really funny guy) in addition to our quintessential gangster.

billybil said...

Oh Lord - quick, Nathanial - delete my post.

Whatever made me confess my desire for James Cagney online? How could I have been so reckless?

The chirping crickets are driving me mad!!!! Mad, I tell you, MAD!!


Ther emust be someone out there. SPEAK UP CAGNEY-LUSTERS! U know you're out there.

ShoNuff said...

if you want to enjoy cagney, check out "one, two, three". entirely changed my opinion of him. so fabulously silly.

Dimi said...

I agree that One, Two, Three is really funny but I still think you need to give Yankee Doodle Dandy a look. Not that it's a particularly good movie (maybe the quintessential biopic) but Cagney is so different than any other movie I've seen him in. I'm indifferent to him but he had range.

Paul Outlaw said...

@ billybil:


To each his own...

Kent said...

Cagney has the tendency to play off putting characters. But you have to see YANKEE DOODLE DANDY. It's his signature role and a wonderful performance. He's also quite good in ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES and LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME.

billybil said...

Oh my God, Mr. Outlaw - did you really have to share that photo with me?!! I'm at work, for God's sake! Oh my God! (heavy breathing drowns out the crickets!)

Should I know what film that's from because I don't but I really, really want to!

Thanks Paul, you obviously know just what I saw (see) in him!

Paul Outlaw said...

It's from Frisco Kid (1935).

This one too.


billybil said...

Oh no Mr. Outlaw! What happened to the tough guy on the dock photo? That's the Cagney I want! (Does this mean I'm going to have to keep coming back to this site all night because you're going to keep putting up new photos of Cagney?!?!?)

Dimi and Kent, the way he dances with his arms hanging down at his sides in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY just sends me.

And, Kent, ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES is a "pleasureable" experience for me. And, although I really like LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (mostly because of Doris Day and her fringed dress) it's not the older Cagney I adore.

Believe it or not ShoNuff and Dimi, I have not seen One Two Three but I will now make a real effort to do so. A funny, silly Cagney might be just what the doctor ordered!

billybil said...

Thank you Mr. Outlaw - I now realize you have 2 photos in rotation within the first link. I am VERY grateful (although he doesn't look so good in that bathing suit, does he?) Maybe I'll just focus on his face.

And oh what a face you've given me in the second link!! Look at the wicked gleam, the arched eyebrow, the mean mouth. Really, I think I have to go take a walk about the block.

Can you guess what movie is next on my Netflix queue? Frisco Kid, here I come (er, well, whatever...)

billybil said...

Duh - not in rotation but 1 photo linked to "James" and one photo linked to "Cagney". I can be so oblivious sometimes!

Anyway, folks, hit the "James" photo first! It says it all.

billybil said...

I mean "Jimmy", not "James".

Paul, see how flustered you got me!! :-0

billybil said...

See, I don't need anybody else, I can just blog to myself.

Liz said...

I did not like The Public Enemy. The Roaring Twenties is much better. That's the one that made me like Cagney.

Brian said...

The Public Enemy has always been a head-scratcher for me. I can see why it shocked (and drew) audiences at the time, but I don't understand why it's still one of the best-regarded films of the pre-code era.

My own favorite Cagney performances/films:

1. Footlight Parade
2. Smart Money
3. Yankee Doodle Dandy
4. the Mayor of Hell
5. Run For Cover

Of course there are many I've yet to see, notably the Crowd Roars, One, Two, Three and even White Heat for instance.


Brian & Liz... thanks for recommendations. I should probably try again.

Billybil. you crack me up

cal roth said...

Has nobody seen White Heat? It's not only Cagney'best perfomance and Raoul Walsh's best movie. It's one of the best movies of all time, one of the most gritty, violent and disturbing movies evermade in Hollywood or any other place. For actressexuals: Virginia Mayo's astonishing performance is a must.