Review: Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

That ball of fire Jimmy Cagney sure can dance!

The best way to truly appreciate Jimmy Cagney’s performance as red, white and blue song and dance man George M. Cohan is if you’ve seen him at his gangsterish best shoving grapefruit in his girlfriend’s face (as he famously did in The Public Enemy) or peppering bullets from a gun as rapidly as his clipped tough-guy dialog.

Though the story of Cohan’s show business life strays far from the truth, you don’t really watch Yankee Doodle for the story. This stage bound musical is Cagney’s show from start to finish; his charisma and dance style carries it along.  [***1/2 out of 5]

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