Review: ‘White Heat’

The tight-lipped scowl, the hunched shoulders that rear themselves for the kill, the gargoyle speech, the belching gunfire of a trigger-happy paranoiac - one with a mother complex, no less - these are the standard and still-popular ingredients that constitute the James Cagney of White Heat. All that is missing is the grapefruit in a dame's physiog.

The tight-lipped scowl, the hunched shoulders that rear themselves for the kill, the gargoyle speech, the belching gunfire of a trigger-happy paranoiac – one with a mother complex, no less – these are the standard and still-popular ingredients that constitute the James Cagney of White Heat. All that is missing is the grapefruit in a dame’s physiog.

White Heat [suggested by a story by Virginia Kellogg] specifically is about a killer over whom only his mother can wield any influence. He heads a western gang, with his mother and his double-dealing wife along for company.

Cagney has an excellent supporting cast. Steve Cochran makes a good-looking, doublecrossing mobster’s aide whose ambition for the gang leadership, and the leader’s wife, ends in a rain of bullets. It’s a capable performance. Virginia Mayo has little to do except look sexy as the wife.

1949: Nomination: Best Motion Picture Story

White Heat

Production

Warner. Director Raoul Walsh; Producer Louis F. Edelman; Screenplay Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts; Camera Sid Hickox; Editor Owen Marks; Music Max Steiner; Art Director Edward Carrere

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1949. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

James Cagney Virginia Mayo Edmond O'Brien Steve Cochran Margaret Wycherly John Archer

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading