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White Heat 2011 WB Gangster release - James Cagney's masterpiece,
This review is from: White Heat  (DVD)
This review refers to the 2011 Warner Bros Gangsters release, ASIN: B000MXZQB8.
White Heat is a tense, gripping and generally well put together gangster film, starring James Cagney in the role he will probably always be best remembered for. And with good reason. It had been nearly 10 years since Cagney had last appeared as a gangster (a character and genre that made him famous through the `30s) but he had lost none of the menace and simmering intensity that made him a household name in 1931's Public Enemy.
Cagney stars as Cody Jarrett, a ruthless gang leader. He's tough, intelligent, devoted to his mother and just a little bit nuts. The character has massive mood swings, going from jovial to psycho in the flip of a switch. It's a complex character, and Cagney portrays it excellently.
Coming from an age where film makers relied on good stories and plots to thrill the audience, rather than endless stunts, this film has got a complex plot involving the treasury men's attempts to nail Cody for a train robbery and to find the man who launders his money. It twists and turns through a manhunt, jail stint, jail break and final showdown. There are plenty of ancillary plots with a member of Cody's gang getting to big for his boots, and Cody's relationships with the women in his life, his neglected wife and devoted Ma.
It is the interplay between Cody and his Ma that lifts this film to a new height. Cagney portrays Cody's utter devotion convincingly, making his character seem a human being and giving us something to sympathise with him about when he learns of her fate.
The climax of the film, with Cody screaming to his Ma `I did it Ma, I'm on top of the world', is one of Cagney's best known screen moments.
This DVD boasts an excellent transfer, with a really crisp picture and a clean soundtrack. The picture has been cleaned up and there are no visible scratches or other defects. It's excellent.
This is an excellent presentation of a truly great gangster film. 5 stars.