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White Heat (Warner 1949, James Cagney, Virginia Mayo)

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“Made it, Ma. Top of the world!” White Heat was the last explosion of the Warner Bros. gangster movies, a decade after their ’30s heyday and was one of the best, with James Cagney unleashing a merciless portrayal of the warped personality that becomes a ruthless killer.

Based on the mother-son gang led by “Ma” Barker, the story opens with Cagney’s gang holding up a train and then hiding out in a freezing cabin with an injured member and his wife (Virginia Mayo) and mother. Dissension in the gang and an attraction between Mayo and a rebellious gangster lead to a police tail in Southern California, a stint in prison for Cagney, and a blazing final showdown. The climactic shoot-out in the oil refinery has become a movie icon and it remains one of Cagney’s and director Raoul Walsh’s greatest moments.

White Heat is one of the final film roles for Native American athlete and actor Jim Thorpe. Thorpe debuted in 1931’s Touchdown.

Academy Award Nomination for Best Motion Picture Story.

production details
Country: USA | Warner Bros. | 114 minutes
Release Year: 1949

Director: Raoul Walsh
Writers: Ben Roberts, Ivan Goff, Virginia Kellogg,

cast
James Cagney as Arthur ‘Cody’ Jarrett
Virginia Mayo as Verna Jarrett
Edmond O’Brien as Vic Pardo
Margaret Wycherly as Ma Jarrett
John Archer as Philip Evans
Ford Rainey as Zuckie
Steve Cochran as Big Ed Somers
Wally Cassell as ‘Cotton’ Valletti
Fred Clark as Daniel Winston
Paul Guilfoyle as Roy Parker
Ian MacDonald as Creel
Robert Osterloh as Ryley
Sherry Hall as Court Clerk (uncredited)
Joel Allen as Operative (uncredited)
Claudia Barrett as Cashier (uncredited)
Ray Bennett as Guard (uncredited)
Marshall Bradford as Chief of Police (uncredited)
Robert Carson as Agent at Directional Map (uncredited)
Bill Cartledge as Car-Hop at Drive-In Theatre (uncredited)
Leo Cleary as Railroad Fireman (uncredited)
Fred Coby as Happy Taylor (uncredited)
Tom Coleman as Court Officer (uncredited)
G. Pat Collins as The Reader (uncredited)
Herschel Daugherty as Policeman (uncredited)
Art Foster as Guard (uncredited)
Art Miles as Guard (uncredited)
Mickey Knox as Het Kohler (uncredited)
Robert Foulk as Payroll guard at chemical plant
Chet Brandenburg as Convict (uncredited)
Eddie Foster as Lefeld (uncredited)
Sid Melton as Russell Hughes (uncredited)
Harry Strang as Prison Infirmary Guard (uncredited)
Buddy Gorman as Vendor at Drive-in (uncredited)
Carl Harbaugh as Foreman (uncredited)
Clarence Hennecke as Small Role (uncredited)
Perry Ivins as Dr. Simpson (uncredited)
Colin Kenny as Prison Guard (uncredited)
Harry Lauter as Man with Microphone in Back Seat of Car (uncredited)
Nolan Leary as Russ (uncredited)
Murray Leonard as Engineer (uncredited)
Larry McGrath as Clocker (uncredited)
John McGuire as Psychiatrist #2 (uncredited)
Ray Montgomery as Ernie (uncredited)
Terry O’Sullivan as Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Milton Parsons as Willie Rolf (uncredited)
Jack Perrin as Policeman (uncredited)
Jack Perry as Convict (uncredited)
Lee Phelps as Prison Tower Guard (uncredited)
Eddie Phillips as T-Man (uncredited)
Joey Ray as T-Man (uncredited)
John Pickard as T-Man Driving Car C (uncredited)
Grandon Rhodes as Dr. Harris – Psychiatrist #1 (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre as Plant Detective (uncredited)
George Spaulding as Judge (uncredited)
Jim Thorpe as Big Convict (uncredited)
Jim Toney as Brakeman (uncredited)
John Butler as Motorist at Gas Station (uncredited)
Charles Ferguson as Plant Detective (uncredited)
Sid Troy as Convict (uncredited)

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