Yankee Doodle Dandy
- James Cagney as George M. Cohan
- Joan Leslie as Mary Cohan
- Walter Huston as Jerry Cohan
- Eddie Foy, Jr. as Eddie Foy
- Richard Whorf as Sam Harris
- Irene Manning as Fay Templeton
- George Tobias as Dietz
WW2 has recently started and coaxed out of retirement by his devoted wife, Mary, aging theatrical star and composer George M. Cohan is playing Franklin Roosevelt in a new musical "I'd Rather be Right Than Be President". One night he gets a telegram from the president asking him to go and see Roosevelt at the White House. Still theatrical in his old age, his immediate reaction is that he is to be shot at sunrise. When he gets there he is pleasantly surprised to meet a Cohan enthusiast who wants to hear his life story...
~~~Curvy fade into flashback~~~
It's 1878 and on the 4th of July baby George Micheal Cohan is being born. As soon as he could walk and talk he joined his family in their act as a dancer/singer. "The Three Cohans" soon became four as George's mother Nellie had another baby named Josie. They toured the country playing in vaudeville shows. As George says, "They kept adding new stars to the flag and The Four Cohans kept rushing out to meet them."
|Auditioning a musical for musical producers Dietz and Goff|
~~~Curvy fade into the present~~~
President Franklin Roosevelt presents him with the Congressional Gold Medal. Overcome with emotion, he tap dances down the stairs of the White House.
If you want a good patriotic film this is the best you can do. Watching this on my screen with the perspective of a few years since I last watched the film, I realized just how incredible James Cagney's performance is. I cried my way through Jerry's death scene and felt extremely emotional during "It's a grand ol' flag". The direction is really good, It's by Micheal Curtiz who I think is generally known to be a trustworthy good filmmaker. Another amazing performance is that of Joan Leslie who was only 17 when she played opposite 43 year old Cagney.