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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)



Reviews and Comments

James Cagney in a musical? You bet. Actually Cagney did a considerable amount of musical work on the stage, and this wasn't the last time he made a musical, either. Yankee Doodle Dandy, simply put, is a retread of material the musical biography genre had and would churn out time after time. What sets it apart is that it is among the best treatments of the formula -- and Cagney makes it all happen the way it should.

Although the life of the famous patriotic composer George M. Cohan is considerably "musicalized" in this film, Cagney's high-energy performance embodies the spirit of Cohan's most well known flag waving songs -- "It's a Grand Old Flag," "Over There," and so forth. Who can resist such inspiration?