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White Heat [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

James Cagney , Virginia Mayo , Raoul Walsh    DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
Price: 8.24
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White Heat [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Angels with Dirty Faces [ 1938 ] + extra's + The Public Enemy [DVD][1931]
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Product details

  • Actors: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly, Steve Cochran
  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Writers: Ben Roberts, Ivan Goff, Virginia Kellogg
  • Producers: Louis F. Edelman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jan 2005
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HBV3C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,728 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



This superb 1949 crime drama takes elements of plot, character and theme familiar from 30s melodramas and orchestrates them as an existential tragedy noir. James Cagney, in a towering performance, is Cody Jarrett, a transparently psychotic robber with a molten temper, feral cunning, and mercurial charm that are finely calibrated extensions of the doomed gangsters he played a decade before, this time coiled not around a Depression-era impetus of greed or class rivalry, but an Oedipal bond. Cody's beloved, calculating "Ma" (Margaret Wycherly) is the compass for his every move, her iron will and long shadow acknowledged not only by Cody but by his gang, his bored, restless wife (Virginia Mayo, radiating sensuality and guile), and the undercover cop (Edmond O'Brien) planted in Jarrett's path.

Director Raoul Walsh propels the story from a rolling start, a tautly paced train robbery that goes awry, culminating in the leader's capture. An ambitious henchman (Steve Cochran) plots a behind-bars hit foiled by O'Brien, who's infiltrated the prison to befriend Jarrett, a goal handily accomplished with the rescue. Jarrett's paranoia, murderous anger, and longing for his mother are interwoven with intermittent, incapacitating headaches that underline and amplify his core of inner rage; Cagney makes these seizures harrowing, revealing purely animal pain and terror at once frightening and pathetic.

Jarrett's escape, the gang's reunion with fellow escapee O'Brien aboard, trusted by Jarrett but not his partners, and the big score that unravels in a climactic gun battle in an oil refinery are conducted with a gritty economy, and Walsh and his cast evoke a criminal life devoid of glamour, noteworthy for the undercurrents of distrust that keep tempers flaring. The final showdown, and Jarrett's crazed, taunting battle cry in the face of death ("Top of the world, Ma!"), achieve a sense of tragic inevitability that deservedly make this a defining moment in Cagney's screen career. --Sam Sutherland,

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex gangster film 28 Sep 2008
This,without doubt,is an outstanding film, for it draws together several complex issues. Right from the start, when we are introduced to Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) Verna (Virginia Mayo) & "Big Ed" (Steve Cochran) we learn several things. Cody is subject to fits & has a mother fixation; also, "Big Ed" is his rival for gang leadership & for Cody`s wife, Verna. The U.S. law enters the story in the person of Officer Hank Fallon (Edmund O`Brien) masquerading as gang member Vic Pardoe, whose object is to obtain enough information to ensure the capture of Jarrett.

There is one sequence in which the viewer is made aware of the link between Cody & his mother. In the prison cell Jarret remarks that Ma always sees to it that he gets his full share of any robbery, & immediately the scene dissolves from Cody`s image directly onto Ma, thus emphasising their emotional bond, especially when she declares: "Get one thing clear...anything we get, Cody`s in for his full share" There is one visual point to note: all the gang members are dressed in light suits, with the exception of "Big Ed" who always seems "odd man out" these are things which are subconciously registered by the viewer.When Ma takes a vote on Cody`s share, she queries "Big Ed`s" willingness to agree, in fact it is so out of character that it arouses her suspicions & leads to Ed`s subsequent downfall.

Perhaps the most outstanding scene in the movie takes place in the prison canteen when Cody receives news of his mother`s death. He goes hysterical, & is carried out shrieking.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Cagney goes out with a bang!!! 17 Nov 2000
Format:VHS Tape
To put it simply James Cagney is Cody Jarrett, a mama obsessed psychopath.Cagney is at his brilliant best as the leader of a gang of crooks who first rob a train and then when the heat from the Feds starts to burn sets himself up to go down for a crime commited on the same day as the train robbery.This is just a trumped up charge to act as an alibi so he can't be charged for the train job.The story revolves around a Fed agent being placed in with Cody to befriend him and to join his gang and be in on the setting up of the gangs next heist.James Cagney made this film to starve of money problems for his own production company, he also felt typecast as a villian and crook, but if anybody can show me a better gangster than Cagney i'll eat my hat.Cagney was brilliant at improvisation just adding little things to each scene to make his character more real and frightening.One of the best of these improvisation is when after a seizure(Cody is an epileptic even though the caracters never say so) Cagney is comforted by his mother and he sits on her lap!!Another is the seizure scene in prison when Cagney finds out his mother has died he rolls over tables, punches the lights out of about three guards , he based that scene on when he was younger visiting a relation in an insane asylum. One thousand words are not enough to do this film justice I haven't even mentioned the attempts on Codys life, the betrayal of his gang, the plan the Feds have to catch Cody, the dramatic realisation when Cody finds its a set-up, and that final scene which is one of the most classic scences in movie history.This is one of the top five gangster movies of all time and that includes The Usual Suspects and Resivour Dogs.Simply put if you have a few spare pound buy it!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
White Heat is directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted by Ivan Goff & Ben Roberts from a story suggested by Virginia Kellogg. It stars James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Steve Cochran & Margaret Wycherly. Music is by Max Steiner and photography by Sidney Hickox.

Cody Jarrett (Cagney) is the sadistic leader of a violent and ruthless gang of thieves. Unnervingly devoted to his mother (Wycherly) and afflicted by terrible headaches since childhood, Cody is one bad day away from being a full blown psychotic. That day is coming soon, and everyone in his way is sure to pay.

Around the time of White Heat being released, two things were evident as regards its star and its themes. One is that it had been a long time since a gangster, and a truly vicious one at that, had thrilled or frightened a cinema audience. The Production Code and a change in emotional value due to World War II had seen the genuine career gangster all but disappear. Second thing of note is that Cagney was stung by the disappointing performance of Cagney Productions. So after having left Warner Brothers in 1942, the diminutive star re-signed for the studio and returned to the genre he had almost made his own in the 30s. He of course had some say in proceedings, such as urging the makers to ensure a crime does not pay motif, but all told he needed a hit and the fit with Raoul Walsh and the psychotic Jarrett was perfect. It may not be his best acting performance, but it's certainly his most potent and arguably it's the cream of the gangster genre crop.

The inspiration for the film is mostly agreed to be the real life criminals: Ma Barker, Arthur "Doc" Barker and Francis Crowley. A point of worth being that they were all 30s criminals since White Heat very much looks and feels like a 30s movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love it thanks
Published 1 day ago by Mr. B. jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Mum's the word
Cody, a villain with a rather erratic temperament shall we say, along with his gang, carry out the daring armed robbery of a train carrying US mail, killing several witnesses along... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Arch Stanton
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Brilliant classic film! James Cagney at his absolute bleeding best! Made it Ma -Top of the world. Cannot think of anything else to say.
Published 3 months ago by Colin
5.0 out of 5 stars A gangster, his moll - and his mom
Oh yes! Jimmy Cagney, always on top form, never better than here, gives the performance of his life as Cody Jarrett, a mother-fixated gangster with an impetuous, neglected wife and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by GlynLuke
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangster
One of the greatest films Cagney made everyone I know just loves great film he plays the part so well he makes you feel sorry for him and the end was good
Published 7 months ago by Meta
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for some strawberries
James Cagney (Cody) heads a group of gangsters. He's a psychopath who loves his mother, Margaret Wycherly (Ma). Read more
Published 10 months ago by Alex da Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars cagney at his best.
what can i say about this film the acting is great and james cagney at his best the prison scene is still one of the best.
Published 11 months ago by jan
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favourites
Nobody played a gangster better than Cagney. Made in 1949 it is still a great film. During an interview shortly before his death Cagney revealed that he had constantly improvised... Read more
Published 11 months ago by QM1
4.0 out of 5 stars great
The film like me "old" but still a classic picture one of the best films he ever made, and he made a lot.
Published 11 months ago by mr jeffery w brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic James Cagney.
Remember seeing this film when I was a kid loved it then and still love it now. Although I had this on vhs I decided to get it on dvd as well. Very fast delivery with no problems..
Published 12 months ago by dave
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