Tuesday, 25 September 2012

White Heat : A Classic Gangster Movie

White Heat, released in 1949, is a classic gangster film. It is one of the greatest crime thrillers ever made. The movie was directed by Raoul Walsh. The screenplay was written by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts based on a story by Virginia Kellogg. It starred the legendary actor James Cagney.

James Cagney plays the role of Cody Jarrett who is a brutal criminal and very much attached and depended on his mother 'Ma' Jarrett (Margaret Wycherly). In spite of being married to Verna (Virginia Mayo), he doesn't trust her. The other characters are US Treasury Investigator Philip Evans (John Archer) and undercover agent Hank Fallon (Edmond O'Brien) who goes under the name Vic Pardo.

The movie starts with a train robbery scene which has gained quite an appreciation over the years. When police come across during it, Cody fires and injures Philip Evans. Then later to avoid getting caught and being imprisoned for these heavy charges, Cody surrenders and confesses to a smaller crime committed by an associate during the same time, which serves as his alibi to this bigger crime.

Officer Philip Evans, decides to play smart and places Hank Fallon as Cody's cell mate to gain his trust. Philips's main task is to find 'The Trader' , who is a bigger fish and launders Cody's money. Fallon assumes the name of Vic Pardo on this mission. Cody's gang member Big Ed turns out to be dishonest and ambitious and tries to murder Cody in prison by assigning the job to another inmate but Vic's timely intervention saves Cody and thus Vic gains Cody's trust. Cody starts to worry about himself and his mother and thus breaks out of the prison with Vic to deal with Big Ed and continue with his usual robberies.

The story goes ahead in such a way that one cannot help but get glued to the screen. The robberies, the character of trader, the end sequence at the chemical plant with Cody's famous quote, 'Made it, Ma! Top of the world!', just before he gets blown up are shown brilliantly.

The movie was received very well. It is in Time Magazines list of top 100 films of all times. It has a 100 % fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
The American Film Institute (AFI) too has honored it. AFI lists Cody Jarrett as the 26th greatest villain in its list of AFI's 100 years...100 Heroes and Villains. Its also ranks 4th in the AFI's 10 Top 10 list in top ten gangster films. Cody's famous quote, 'Made it, Ma! Top of the world!' ranks at 18th in the list of AFI's 100 years..100 Movie Quotes.

8 comments:

  1. Now I know why you stumbled on my blog...You are a die hard movie fan. There is so much to learn here.

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    1. Thanks for saying that. :) :)
      And as I can read in the later comments on your punches, part 2 is a must. ;)

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  2. I dont watch old classics and all Vinay. But like the way you present your facts. Best part is your post is not too long and dragging!

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    1. Thanks..I make it short and keep it mostly to the story part because that's what matters more when you watch a movie. :)

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  3. I will suggest it to my brother, looks like his kinda movie.

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    1. Ohh sure, if its his kinda movie, then I'm sure he has already watched it. :)

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  4. I am not having experience of watching gangster movies and of classic kind, not at all. But as much I remember I have seen a boll-wood movie of gangster type, it was some touching. Well thanks for recommending us “White Heat” for watching.

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