Now Playing: Anchors Aweigh (1945)

During the 2017 holiday season, I got a great deal on the Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection. Diane and I haven’t seen most of these movies, but we are committed to watching one a week and writing a short review.


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Ahoy, 1945! We arrive back in the land of the color motion picture. This time for “Anchors Aweigh”, a feature length fever dream and commercial for the United States Navy. Stars include Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and of course the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry. All aboard for a romantic, musical, comedy adventure!

And that is all the excitement and enthusiasm I can possibly muster. This film has not aged well. And, unfortunately, no one has seen fit to release a cut that leaves all the extraneous, contrite, and predictable nonsense on the cutting room floor.

But I guess a movie has got to have some kind of plot …

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Gene Kelly is the star, but Frank is the voice.

“Anchors Aweigh” stars Gene Kelly, the so called “biggest wolf in the Navy”, who sings very questionable things about women, implies the romantic female lead is a slut who has had sex with nearly every man in the US Navy, and even “comedicly” hints at violence in a song about not getting a kiss from a woman who doesn’t want to kiss you that you want to kiss you. And despite all of that, Gene Kelly is still charming.

His co-star, ole blue eyes white dragon Frank Sinatra is less so. Everytime the man is on the screen, I worry he will “aw shucks” his way back off it. Yet, despite having the spine of an Andy Griffth extra he has the voice of an angel. It is incredible really. Sinatra effortlessly hits all of the deep notes in his songs. His dancing is subpar, of course, but this is a movie with Gene Kelly in it, so why would anyone else bother to keep up?

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This movie’s “kenny” was acceptable enough, even if he was a need bastard who never goes to school and knows how to run out on his babysitter (who keeps getting a job for some reason …).

“Anchors Aweigh” is a romantic comedy, but the plot is paper thin and horribly contrived. It is really more of an excuse to get from dance number to musical number and vice versa. There is no point in getting invested in any of the characters, and I don’t see modern audiences rooting for a man like Gene Kelly’s Joe even as he leaves behind his womanizing ways for true love with a dame he’s only known for two days.

Skipping over all the bits I hated (the little kid, Kathryn Grayson as the female lead, the plot, the ending), there’s a lot of fun bits of entertainment scattered throughout the film. It is strange to see a movie like this as its only real purpose is to feature two of the best known performers of the time who are still renowned today. No one went to see “Anchors Aweigh” for anchors aweighing. No – they went for Gene Kelly dancing and Frank Sinatra singing.

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Do less drugs.

The best thing about seeing this film is finally getting the context of Gene Kelly’s acid trip of a dance sequence where he dances and sings with Jerry from the cartoon Tom & Jerry. And that happens after he tells Mr. Owl he is going to bring singing and dancing back to the other woodland creatures! Even with context, there is no explaining the scene’s existence. It is by far the best thing about “Anchors Aweigh” because most romantic comedies are conservative films just looking for an easy payday. This film tried to do a little bit more and I commend it for it!

So, should you also see this movie if you haven’t already? No. I’d catch the best parts on YouTube and then go listen to Frank Sinatra after he filled out a little bit.

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Though you can progressively spin the movie’s plot with the big twist being that the female lead never needed the help of two strangers for her singing career and the the Hollywood suit she wanted to impress is super nice, it really felt more like they just ran out of run time and didn’t want any hanging plot threads.

Now Playing: Gaslight (1944)

During the 2017 holiday season, I got a great deal on the Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection. Diane and I haven’t seen most of these movies, but we are committed to watching one a week and writing a short review.


More frequently recently, I have noticed an uptick in the term “gaslighting”. Until seeing 1944’s movie “Gaslight” I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of its meaning. Now, after seeing the movie from which the term is derived (well, you could probably argue it comes from the play the movie was based on), I understand completely.

“Gaslight” stars Ingrid Bergman (previously seen in “Casablanca”) and Charles Boyer (whom we knew of only from I Love Lucy). The film begins with the murder of a world-famous opera singer, Alice Alquist, whose body is discovered by her only living relative and niece, Paula (Bergman). Paula moves from her London home with her aunt to stay with a family friend in Italy. She stays in Italy for ten years before she meets and falls in love with the mysterious Gregory (Boyer). After two weeks of courtship, they elope and, at his suggestion, move back to her aunt’s home in London which she inherited and left abandoned.

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I know this look is supposed to be “young and innocent” but it really does Bergman no favors.

Other cast members joining Bergman and Boyer include Joseph Cotton. We previously saw him in “Citizen Kane” as one of my standout favorites. He also co-starred with Audrey Hepburn in the stage version of “The Philadelphia Story”, another movie we have watched on this list. Cotton’s Mid-Atlantic/Virginian accent does him no favors in “Gaslight” as a man who supposedly works at Scotland Yard. We also get Dame May Whitty who plays yet another old British woman though, unlike in “Mrs. Minniver”, she’s a pleasant, albeit nosy, old British woman. And finally, we have a very young Angela Lansbury as an uncouth maid. In our household, Dame Lansbury is best known for her voicework in Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast” as well as reruns of Murder, She Wrote.

“Gaslight” is an odd movie to watch. It works well enough as a thriller and the acting is very good, but it suffers from predictability and several plot holes. As you may have guessed despite not seeing the film, Gregory (Boyer) murdered Paula’s aunt and wanted to return to the scene of his crime as Paula’s new husband to search for jewels that were never recovered. To keep her under his control, Gregory immediately begins a campaign of psychological warfare to break down Paula’s belief in reality and in herself. He does this so he can eventually send her away to an asylum while he controls her estate and the home in which the jewels are presumably still hidden.

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Lansbury as a slutty (for 1940’s standards) maid? I would’ve never guessed!

Despite Charles Boyer’s ability to mesmerize even me with his odd obsession with the locations of paintings and brooches, the plot was silly at best. It is never clear if Boyer loved Paula’s aunt or how she got the jewels from him in the first place. The fact that he spends six or more months going upstairs to search for the jewels in secret and only finds them when most convenient to the plot only adds more to the silliness. The movie would’ve been a lot better if a) a rewrite with a focus on logical consistency, b) add some actual red herrings so it felt more like a mystery, c) announce that Gregory is the villain early on and let the movie focus on the horror of psychological drama when inflicted by someone who knows what they are doing when inflicting it.

Outside of being an excellent example of exactly what the term “gaslighting” means, I thought “Gaslight” was forgettable when it easily could have been the opposite. Bergman’s Paula has zero agency, so the only real star here is Charles Boyer’s Gregory. More insight into his character or his motivation (beyond “derp I love diamonds”) could have made this a psychological thriller worth rewatching. Sadly, we get “Scooby Doo if written by a psychology grad student” instead.

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I hope to see more of Charles Boyer. I wish he would’ve had a turn as Dracula or some other horror villain. He has the eyes and the charm for it!

 

(Not So) Hollow Knight #Review #NintendoSwitch

 

hollow_knight_title_large_blackFor a game called Hollow Knight, the game’s setting, mechanics, and extras are incredibly dense. Originally launched in 2014 from Australian Team Cherry, I finally had a chance to play it on the Switch after it released earlier this month. I will save you the trouble of reading the rest of this post: Hollow Knight is, to me, equivalent in quality to the masterpiece Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and worthy of equal veneration.

Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania game. If you are unfamiliar, it is a genre of games that mimic classic series like Metroid and Castlevania. The genre is known for having an equal blend of platforming and action combat, as well as environments you constantly have to retread as you unlock newer ways to explore and progress.

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Exploration and discovery are vital to a good Metroidvania as well.

I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy Hollow Knight, but it hooked me quickly. The controls are phenomenal. They feel as smooth as Mega Man II or Megaman X. Like other games in the action-platformer genre, I found just navigating the Hallownest (the game’s setting) was pleasant. The combat is also tight, complete with great animations, and a variety of attacks and spells to unlock to spice combat up a bit as you go.

As much as I enjoyed exploring (both platforming and fighting) my way through the game’s dark and dreary setting, I wish there had been a bit more story. The little information you do get comes secondhand from a cast of strange characters you meet or through rare tablets you find hidden. I am still piecing it together even though I am at a 103% completion rate (thank you DLC).

Despite lacking story, Hollow Knight firmly establishes its tone and never lets go. All of the characters are bugs of one kind or another. The art is fantastic and the level variety is incredible once you start finding new areas. I also really enjoyed the music, especially the extra boss Nightmare King Grimm’s theme. I learned to hum it over the two hours of practice it took for me to finally vanquish him.

Now, to address the elephant in the room: is Hollow Knight challenging?

I am not the type of person who actively seeks out challenging video games. If a game is hard, then it is not automatically good. I tend to avoid especially hard games because they often frustrate me and I hate being frustrated.

Hollow Knight challenged me but I never got frustrated. The game does a good job of not punishing the player for a loss (outside of potentially losing geo, the game’s currency).  Rather than a game over, you wake up at the last bench you sat on and they are relatively plentiful. Certain boss fights take place in the dream world and if you die in those, you wake up at the start of the fight, no money lost and your health restored.

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I thought the Grimm Troupe DLC was weak outside of its final boss which I loved.

I have heard Hollow Knight compared to games like Dark Souls. I have long avoided that style of video game since I rarely seek out challenge over other things. While I cannot share my opinion on the comparison, I think Hollow Knight is a fun, engaging, and sound game that doesn’t try to cheat you of overcoming its potential difficulty with cheap tricks.

Furthermore, I really liked some of the additional late game areas. The White Palace in particular contains some very serious platforming that I would easily compare to a platformer-only game like Super Meat Boy. It even has the bouncing on saw blades that you see in hardcore Super Mario hacks. It was entirely optional, but I think it speaks a lot of what Team Cherry has managed to do with the controls in Hollow Knight that they executed a pure platforming area so well within a game that typically focuses on combat and exploration.

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night holds a special place in my heart. It is one of the few games I have beaten multiple times on multiple platforms. Elevating a game like Hollow Knight to be its equal is a huge honor in my book. Deservedly so because the nearly 40 hours I have already put into Hollow Knight isn’t nearly enough even if I am running out of things to do. I cannot wait for more with the game’s next DLC!

Now Playing: Casablanca (1942)

During the 2017 holiday season, I got a great deal on the Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection. Diane and I haven’t seen most of these movies, but we are committed to watching one a week and writing a short review.


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I have long avoided watching “Casablanca” and I wish now I hadn’t. I was under the impression it was a romance. I thought star-crossed lovers would make googly eyes at one another and kiss their way through a forgettable plot. I imagined “Twilight” both before and after “Twilight” existed. Now that I have forced myself to watch it, I really regret my preconceived notions of the film.

1942’s “Casablanca” stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and (most importantly for reasons we will get to later) Claude Rains. It takes place during World War II in Casablanca, Morocco, while the city is under free France rule.

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Bogart again. Oh joy.

The setting largely revolves around Rick’s Café Américain, owned and operated by Rick (Bogart), a mysterious American expatriate with a penchant for fighting for the losing side in any war he participates in. At the outset of the story, he makes claims to Captain Louis Renault (Rains) that he is neutral, but the French prefect of the police in Casablanca thinks he is more sentimental than he lets on.

For me, the most fascinating and enjoyable aspect of “Casablanca” is its setting. The city functions as a neutral territory for all sorts of Europeans trying to flee the encroach of Nazi Germany. There, they wait to be flown out, but because of visa concerns and the black market cost to resolve said concerns, most end up waiting there indefinitely.

Rick’s Café Américain in particular is the place everyone goes to for a drink, to gamble, or listen to music. In particular, they listen to Sam, an African American and friend of Rick’s who left Paris with him. Sam, played by Dooley Wilson, is the first African American actor with any real role we have encountered on this list who was not playing a slave. I doubt he was the first ever actor to have that distinction in American cinema, but it was refreshing to see someone of color with some degree of agency all their own even if his role was limited.

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The dueling anthem scene was fantastic and perfectly captured why this setting is so much more compelling than most everything else in the movie for me.

When I first realized what was happening in the film’s setting, I instantly thought it would make a great D&D setting for an adventure. There aren’t too many films I can think of off the top of my head that feel this unique in just where they are set alone. The fact that the film was contemporary to World War II and that many of the actors were Europeans who had escaped the tyranny of Nazi Germany made it all the more impactful. For its historical importance alone, I think “Casablanca” is a significant and important film that more people like us should’ve seen before we turned 30.

Beyond the setting, the characters themselves are all interesting. Bogart and Bergman both give great performances. I am already tiring of “Bogart playing Bogart”, but this was the first time seeing Bergman. Diane remarked at how attractive she was, especially when compared to other leading ladies we have seen thus far, since she had a fuller face and wasn’t all angles. With a little less romance in the script, I think the character could’ve been phenomenal, but Bergman does well with what she is given.

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This is the most French picture I could get of the definitely not French Claude Rains.

My absolute favorite character is Captain Louis Renault played by English actor Claude Rains. We previously saw Rains as Prince John in “The Adventures of Robin Hood”. Here, he plays a Frenchman who is as cynical as he is unscrupulous. Everytime he was on screen, he would slime out a laugh from me. My favorite scene was when the Germans forced him to shut down the nightclub and he had to come up with a reason on-the-fly to do so. Without skipping a beat, he shouts that he has discovered illegal gambling just before being handed his gambling winnings for the night. Through and through Renault is a scoundrel, but Rains plays him so well that you can only love his cheek and nerve despite abusing his power at every turn.

My second favorite and Diane’s first was Carl, a waiter played by S. Z. Sakall. Though he gets relatively few scenes and even fewer lines, his facial expressions alone were enough to make him memorable.

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Duty over love.

As for the romance angle itself, it was hard to really care about whether the characters were truly in love or not. For both of us, that entire subplot took a backseat to world-at-war setting and gravitas of everything else. Scenes with dueling national anthems with people expressing their love of country had more impact than the will he/won’t he nature of Rick’s actions. The love triangle also barely factored in since the other male in the triangle, Victor Lazslo (Paul Henreid) barely had time to pay attention to it while he was doing far more important things.

It didn’t help that we both knew how it ended. Bogart’s final speech to Bergman before she boards the plane has been quoted endlessly in pop culture. Without seeing the film, I knew it. Again I find remarkable what lasts from these older movies regardless of their historical importance. That speech, while worthy of quotation, failed to compare to everything else going on in the movie and in the world at the time of its filming.

I will not give “Casablanca” the distinction of being my favorite film on this list, but I would watch it again. It manages to be horrifying, humorous, and historical all simultaneously. I wish more time was spent on stories like this rather than big budget war movies about World War II. It’s amazing how epic in scope such a small setting could be when the whole world is at war.

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I would let Sam play it again.

Dungeon Mastering, My First Time

I have always been curious about dungeon mastering, but I only just recently had the opportunity to try it in a safe environment. That sort of thing makes me nervous. I worry about fucking up a rule or not being able to respond to some off-the-rails departure in a timely manner. I worry about maintaining the voices or really any kind of consistency. I should have worried less because it went well.

For my first ever experience as a dungeon master, I chose the one-shot “Wild Sheep Chase” by Richard Jansen-Parkes. I found it after googling to find a good “first ever” adventure for fledgling DMs. One of my players had already done the adventure, but I have never been the sort to do things exactly as written so I was less worried about that and more worried about what kind of characters the group wanted to throw at me.

They chose Team Rocket from Pokémon and it was kind of a perfect fit.

The premise for “Wild Sheep Chase” follows a wizard who has been true polymorphed for the last two years by his apprentice. His apprentice stole his wand of true polymorph and has been using it on mercenaries to guard the sheep wizard. It doesn’t make total sense, but it is a great excuse to have some fairly easy animal-based encounters with a moral dilemma at the end.

I started improvising almost immediately. For starters, I let my three players roll up level 5 characters, so a bunch of wolves were really no threat to them. I had a cool entrance for the animals though.

The players began in an inn and after the sheep exposited the plot, a half-orc, and local gang leader, summoned his animal friends to capture the sheep-wizard for his Mistress (I changed the apprentice to a lady for some romance angles). Bacon, a boar, jumped through a window behind the players before Meowth fried him in one hit with Booming Blade. Peeps the hawk came in through a young woman’s bedroom before being stabbed by James’s rapier. The wolf, Dagger, swallowed the knife he had in his mouth after Jessie blasted him for more than his HP.

The other wolf, Scarf, had a brilliant moment where he and James posed off and tried to look more glamorous than the other. Scarf felt like he had won, especially with the crosswind animating his scarf and the light reflecting perfectly on his eyes, and he left. This forced Guz to summon his backups, sibling bears named Ginger and Freckles. Similar to Bacon, Freckles exploded after a couple of rounds and another Booming Blade. One of those rounds included a critical stealth check by Meowth which resulted in him taking the perfect form of a chair.

This enraged his brother Ginger who proceeded to sit atop Meowth after critically failing the grapple contest and slipping on a piece of Freckles.

While Meowth and Ginger were battling, Scarf slipped in the back window while the players were distracted. He used his magic scarf to entangle the sheep-wizard, but Jessie summoned earthen tendrils shaped like an ekans to restrain the wolf before he could escape with their new ally. James used this opportunity to gloriously unravel Scarf’s scarf with his rapier which was the only thing tying his wolf head to his wolf body.

Realizing he needed to warn the Mistress that the sheep-wizard had strong allies, the half-orc fled the scene. James used his charms to try and convince Ginger to give up fighting. Ginger just wanted to go home to his mother who he missed though he realized since she was not a bear that might be a problem. Jessie successfully convinced Ginger to join their party and promised to undo the spell on him so he could return home.

After more exposition where the sheep-wizard revealed he had come onto his apprentice and she had turned him into a sheep so he could experience what it was like to be the prey, the party arrived at the wizard’s tower just in time to spot the half-orc warning his mistress that they were coming.

Surprising both me and the villains, the party ran out of the woods “guns a-blazin’” as they did not try and roleplay their way through this situation at all (we were running out of time). I still wanted the encounter to be memorable though, so after getting off their surprise round, the Mistress used her stolen wand of true polymorph to turn the half-orc into an elephant which she later enlarged.

The party didn’t struggle too much with the elephant, but it was scary for a time. Meowth ran up a tree to hide from him but the elephant rammed him out of the tree all the same. Jessie got a fireball off on the Mistress, but she was polymorphed into a lowly garden snake. James finally got the kill on the Mistress and Meowth finished off the elephant after some kiting.

All in all, I had a real blast. It was a unique experience as I had to balance enforcing the rules while sometimes bending them. I always tried to tell a good story, but not at the expense of fun or pacing. I also had to think on the fly and come up with new challenges to react to the player’s behavior.

I could see myself doing it again!

Now Playing: Mrs. Miniver (1942)

During the 2017 holiday season, I got a great deal on the Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection. Diane and I haven’t seen most of these movies, but we are committed to watching one a week and writing a short review.


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It struck me while watching “Mrs. Miniver” that the film was incredibly current for its time. It is rare to watch a movie about an event that is ongoing and rarer still that event be as important as World War II. 1942’s film “Mrs. Miniver” follows the Miniver family living outside of London, England, at the outset of the war, the Blitz, and directly references the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940. Despite its focus on the English in World War II, “Mrs. Miniver” was an American movie rushed to theaters by President Roosevelt as a propaganda film to stir up more Americans to support fighting the Germans.

It was also one of the most boring movies I have watched. As stirring as its speeches and as important as its history, “Mrs. Miniver” spends too much time on romance and on the idyllic lives of the pre-war English middle class and aristocracy. In a way, it reminds me of “Gone with the Wind” only less exciting.

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Greer Garson was adorable.

It is a shame too because the movie is well-acted. Mrs. Miniver is played by Greer Garson, who’s soft eyes look straight through the heart of everyone she meets. Later scenes in the movie, after her initial introduction as a vapid consumer housewife, bring home the tragedy of war even if the movie takes too long getting to them.

The rest of the cast is also very good. I especially liked Walter Pidgeon as the husband of Mrs. Miniver, Clem Miniver. He has a kind of old sitcom dad vibe to him throughout the film, despite there being no laugh track and even less to laugh about. An early scene where he and his wife have dinner and slowly work up the courage to admit to one another what they wasted money on that day felt like a scene from “I Love Lucy”.

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“I Love Lucy” in a bomb shelter would be a welcome twist on the sitcom though.

Other than the children who were terrible by default, I initially hated their son and the film’s romantic lead, Vin Miniver, played by Richard Ney. Vin is initially introduced as an Oxford student who cannot stop talking about the troubles of classes in English society. I found it very humorous how he wanted to stand up for the middle class against British aristocracy when his parents lived in a house large enough to have its own name. Blue blood or not, he hardly suffered either.

His character did grow on me and if the film hadn’t dawdled so much I might’ve cared for his romance with Carol Beldon (Teresa Wright), the granddaughter of the well-to-do Lady Beldon. I did appreciate that she called Vin out on his bullshit when they first met since all he was was a “talker” and she at least did something with her time when she wasn’t busy being rich.

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British.

Carol Beldon’s grandmother, Lady Beldon, is played by Dame May Whitty and she owns all of her scenes. As classist as she can be, Lady Beldon is one of the few comedic elements in the movie, which was much appreciated given the rest of the subject matter even if she was a total bitch about most things. Her character arc revolves almost entirely around a flower competition which her family host, pays for, and that she always wins. It is all rather tripe.

The absolute best scene in the entire film takes place at its very end. Gathering in a bombed out church, there are gaps in the seating where lost loved ones once sat. The pastor’s sermon is rousing. The story goes that it was written over and over again up until the day it was shot. It was so important, that President Roosevelt cribbed it in his own speeches regarding the war effort. If the war hadn’t already been won, then I might’ve jumped out of my comfy living room and gone off to fight for freedom myself.

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Easily the most memorable scene, this speech, especially in context, was perfect.

Regardless of all these qualities, Diane and I both spent most of the film wondering when it would lead to anything. When we realized it was a World War II movie, we got interested despite the movie maintaining its glacial pacing. “Mrs. Miniver” feels long and is long. It takes too much time to get where it needs to be for the story to begin and everytime you think it is over, it isn’t. We very much appreciated the historic value of this film, but we will never watch it again.

Now Playing: Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

During the 2017 holiday season, I got a great deal on the Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection. Diane and I haven’t seen most of these movies, but we are committed to watching one a week and writing a short review.


For both of us, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, the 1942 biographical musical, was a surprise. As Americans, we were obviously familiar with the songs in the movie, but we had never gotten the additional context of George M. Cohan and his life. Though not necessarily true-to-life, James Cagney played the role of the “song and dance” man to perfection. Neither Diane nor I knew what to expect before watching the film, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Yankee Doodle Dandy” is a biographical story about Irish-American George M. Cohan (played by James Cagney). Cohan was an entertainer, dancer, singer, producer, and writer. Of all his hits, the two I am most familiar with are “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, two songs I have heard all my life though I knew nothing of their composer.

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“Yankee Doodle Dandy” includes the first depiction of a sitting President while on film.

Even the movie remarks upon the familiarity of Cohan’s music. Later in the film, teenagers arrive needing water for their car. George is asleep in a hammock reading a magazine and they ask him if he was ever in showbusiness. He says he was, but they don’t know any of the songs he mentions were his. Instead, they only know that new hit single “Jeepers Creepers”. Of course “Jeepers Creepers” is a jazz standard now and a “hit” horror movie franchise, but Cohan’s music has lasted the test of time too or else people like us wouldn’t know them.

As Cohan, James Cagney is sublime in the role. We previously saw him on this list in “Public Enemy”, but playing a singer and dancer in George M. Cohan is far removed from his turn as a criminal. It’s amazing seeing his range and after watching “Yankee Doodle Dandy” I am finally understanding why he was a respected and well-known actor in his time.

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This scene in which George M. Cohan first meets his future wife was an absolute delight.

Similar to most of the films on this list thus far, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” covers George M. Cohan’s entire life, absent his final years and death. The story is bookended by his meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Cohan’s twilight years.

It is also a musical and, in the same vein as other movies on this list depicting Broadway, we had no idea what any of the plays performed within the movie are about. It is amazing how much is lost over time. I am sure the musical Little Johnny Jones was better known in the ‘40s, but the only thing from it for which we were familiar was the song “Give My Regards to Broadway”. The depiction in the movie of Little Johnny Jones, Cohan’s first full-length musical, was confusing and completely alien to us otherwise.

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Mericuh!

The best praise I can give for a movie like “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is that I would watch it again. It was fun, funny, and an all-around great performance. There was an instance of blackface, but it was within the context of Vaudeville and excusable enough for the time. And, again, I cannot speak enough of Cagney’s performance. He made me laugh, nearly made me cry, and his stiff-legged dancing mixed with his sing-speak songs kept me engaged.

 

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