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White Heat (Sous-titres franais)

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Cagney
  • Directors: Raoul Walsh
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: Jan. 25 2005
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0006HBV3C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,299 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

White Heat (DVD)


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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
There are two styles of Film Noir. The Noir of the 1940s is characterized by glossy production values, gumshoes and dangerous women, and complex plots that emphasize moral ambiguity. The Noir of the 1950s is characterized by a gritty realism and brutality and tends to place the criminal at center of the story. The 1949 film WHITE HEAT straddles the two styles--a fact that makes it "required viewing" for any one interested in the way Film Noir developed and changed over time. But WHITE HEAT is much more than a film with historical significance. It continues to pack quite a punch right up present day.
At the time it was released many critics warned audiences about the movie's level of violence. By today's standards the violence isn't much: you won't find oozing gore. But WHITE HEAT bests most modern films in terms of brutality. You might not see the blood pouring, but the harsh tone of the film and its vicious characters create a sense of violence that generally outstrips more graphic modern films. The pace of the film is driving, the story and dialogue convincing, and the cast top-notch all the way.
James Cagney spent much of the 1940s trying to distance himself from the gangster roles he created in the 1930s, but he returns to the genre in what may be his single finest performance as Cody Jarrett, career criminal, gang leader, and easily one of the most psychotic criminals Hollywood has ever portrayed. Backed by his equally dangerous mother and perfidious wife (Margaret Wycherly and Virginia Mayo, both of whom give the performances of their careers), Jarrett undertakes a train holdup--and when things get too hot tries to sidetrack the cops by taking a rap on a minor charge.
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Format: VHS Tape
James Cagney, in older years, retakes his archetypal gangster role, though this time, he invests it with greater psychological connotations as the unbalanced, mother-fixated hoodlum, Cody Jarrett. As opposed to the usual Depression-era ambient, Cagney, in the crowning performances of his career, plays the ageing gangleader Jarrett, who is caught in a spiral of tension as a relentless undercover agent (Edmond O'Brien) infiltrates his gang with a view to putting him inside, while his faithless wife and his rival (outstandingly played by Virginia Mayo and Steve Cochran respectively) plot his as well as his mother's deaths. Margaret Wycherley is fine in the supporting role of Jarrett's mother, the object of his obsessive Oedipal devotion. What is most endearing about this film is that, for a movie that was made in 1949, it works with still the same narrative machinery of contemporary thrillers exploring the same themes. This proves that it hasn't dated at all, producing often mesmerisingly suspenseful results. It can be compared, with favour, to the best and latest offerings of the gangster-thriller genre. One scene in the middle (a hand-to-hand combat between T-Man Edmond O'Brien and a hoodlum) has the privilige of being one of the earliest martial arts displays in the history of Hollywood -- an ancestor of the fight scenes of Seagal, Van Damme, Snipes, et al.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie remains a thrill to watch. Even though it was made in 1949, long after the Warner Bros gangster cycle is considered to have ended, it is probably the most flambouyant such film the studio turned out. A measure of how good Cagney really was in this movie is to try to imagine any other actor being as credible and effective in this role. I can't think of one who could come close, then or now. The movie and his performance are over the top, and at times it seems as though the rest of the cast is just trying to get out of his way. Yet, it all works fabulously. One great scene that doesn't get much mention is where Cagney confronts his wife and "Big Ed" in their hideout. It still gives me chills. This isn't high art, but a great cast and director created an incredible piece of entertainment. Don't miss it.
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I looks like just another gangster picture, but it's not, it's much more. James Cagney returned to gangster roles because the role of Cody Jarrett was just to good to turn down. He creates one of the most ruthless characters ever to grace the silver screen. His Cody Jarrett is a brilliant personification of criminal paranoia mixed with motherly obsession. Just by seeing him on the screen, his intensity feels like the screen will explode. Probably Cagney's best role, certainly his most meaty, Cody's breakdown headache sequences are harrowing but brilliant. The story takes a back-seat, this is basically Cagney's show, but Virginia Mayo deserves credit for her role, she oozes sex appeal. The 'Top of the World' finale is now classic. Great for Cagney fans and gangster buffs. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film an 8!
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In WHITE HEAT James Cagney is a psychotic killer named Cody Jarrett who has a mother fixation. Cody heads a gang of armed robbers and he travels with an entourage which includes Ma Jarrett (Margaret Wycherly) and his own conniving wife (Virginia Mayo). Steve Cochran plays the part of Big Ed who has an eye on Cody's job as well as his wife.
The action starts with the gang robbing a train and two banks before heading for a hideout. During the robberies there are some unnecessary killings. In order to take the heat off the gang Cody manages to turn himself in for a much lesser crime committed in another state at the same time. He will serve only two years for this crime and Ma Jarrett will run the gang in his absence. Undercover agent Edmund O'Brien is placed in prison as Cody's cellmate to get information from him about the robberies. In spite of a few close calls O'Brien is able to avoid detection and finds himself unwittingly travelling with the gang after a prison escape. At this point the action and tension increase exponentially as the film moves toward a memorable climax.
Cagney had gone about ten years without a big hit and was fifty years old at the time of this movie. He decided to resort to the successful gangster formula of his earlier career and the move proved to be very wise. The strong supporting cast included John Archer, Wally Cassell, Fred Clark and Ford Rainey. WHITE HEAT received an Oscar nomination in 1949 for Best Motion Picture Story. Raoul Walsh directed many other fine films during his career such as GENTLEMAN JIM and HIGH SIERRA.
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