James Cagney and others on stage in a patriotic dance numberalr

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Screening on Film
Directed by Michael Curtiz.
With James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston.
US, 1943, 35mm, color, 125 min.
Print source: HFA

In this timely patriotic musical, already in production at the point of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, James Cagney portrays George M. Cohan, the real-life creative jack-of-all-trades of the early 20th century. Cohan made history as the man who composed “It’s A Grand Old Flag” and “Over There,” songs that became famous for their effective motivational efforts during World War I. Cagney, best known for his gritty gangster films of the 1930s, displays his uncanny abilities in dancing and choreography in this mesmerizing and historically-significant work. Yankee Doodle Dandy’s prolific director, Michael Curtiz, worked with Cagney previously on the classic Warner Brothers gangster drama Angels With Dirty Faces (1938). For both Cagney and Curtiz, Yankee Doodle Dandy proved to audiences the great versatility of these two Hollywood legends.

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