Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1942. Warner Bros.. Story by Robert Buckner, Screenplay by Robert Buckner, Edmund Joseph. Cinematography by James Wong Howe. Produced by Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner. Music by George M. Cohan, Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld. Production Design by Carl Jules Weyl. Costume Design by Milo Anderson. Film Editing by George Amy. Academy Awards 1942.
James Cagney just can’t keep all that energy to himself in this lively film biography of Irish-American songwriter George M. Cohan. Beginning at Cohan’s childhood when he was a vaudeville star along with his talented family, the film details his life as he grew up in the theatre and went on to write some of the most memorable songs (particularly wartime songs) that are still sung today (“Over There”, “Harrigan”). In the lead role Cagney is astounding, leaping and bounding through every scene with a fire-engine of a personality that never lets down. The score is chock full of Cohan songs for all you fans out there, and the screenplay loaded with interesting facts about the man. Also watch out for Walter Huston‘s marvelous performance as Cohan’s father.