A film of the life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer and singer George M. Cohan.

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Richard Whorf ...
Irene Manning ...
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Rosemary DeCamp ...
Jeanne Cagney ...
...
Singer
George Barbier ...
...
Walter Catlett ...
Douglas Croft ...
Eddie Foy Jr. ...
Minor Watson ...
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Storyline

A musical portrait of composer/singer/dancer George M. Cohan. From his early days as a child-star in his family's vaudeville show up to the time of his comeback at which he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the US, this is the life- story of George M. Cohan, who produced, directed, wrote and starred in his own musical shows for which he composed his famous songs. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

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Plot Keywords:

actor | singer | song | comeback | dancer | See All (122) »

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Based on the story of GEORGE M. COHAN with the Greatest of all his Great Music See more »


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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 June 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Triunfo supremo  »

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(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Leslie portrays Mary Cohan, aging from 18 to 57 throughout proceedings. Leslie turned 17 during the production of the film. The fact that she was still attending school during production caused numerous delays. See more »

Goofs

The song "Off the Record", performed near the end when Cohan is portraying Franklin D. Roosevelt in the musical "I'd Rather Be Right", features some morale boosting anti-Nazi lyrics. However, "I'd Rather Be Right" played on Broadway in 1937, two years before World War II broke out, and four years before the U.S. entered it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Critic #1: I call it a hit. What'll your review say?
Critic #2: I like it too, so I guess I'll pan it.
See more »


Soundtracks

Molly Malone
(1927) (uncredited)
from the Broadway show "The Merry Malones"
Written by George M. Cohan
Sung by Frances Langford as part of the post-WWI medley
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User Reviews

 
Red White and Blue, Cagney for You
29 May 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

James Cagney won his only Oscar for his recreation of George M. Cohgan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Already terminally ill, Cohan lived long enough to see the film and no doubt he would have approved of it because it sure is how he would like to have been remembered.

In 1942 when Yankee Doodle Dandy premiered there was a whole generations of people left alive who saw George M. Cohan perform. Watching the film today Cohan is like a figure from antiquity. But Warner Brothers was lucky to have James Cagney with the studio who's dancing style closely paralleled Cohan's. If it is ever run on Turner Classic Movies, make sure you see George M. Cohan's sound film The Phantom President. You will be astonished to see how closely Cagney captured his style. In the same way that Philip Seymour Hoffman captured Truman Capote and Joaquin Phoenix became Johnny Cash.

Cohan's contemporaries are also like names from antiquity. But a century ago when Cohan was just hitting the big time performers like Fay Templeton, Nora Bayes, and Eddie Foy were very big stars and in 1942 plenty of people saw them also. I wish we had some film of them to see how Irene Manning, Frances Langford, and Eddie Foy, Jr. did in their recreations. I'm sure Foy, Jr. did a smashing job with his Dad.

The background stuff is true enough. Cohan was born to a pair of vaudeville performers Jerry and Nellie Cohan played here by Walter Huston and Rosemary DeCamp. Later on a sister was added to the Cohan family and here Josie Cohan is played by Jeanne Cagney. They did do all the towns, big and small, in America. Cagney meets wife Joan Leslie at Shea's Theater in Buffalo, New York and Shea's survives to this day. And his first real success was Little Johnny Jones which score included American classics, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Give My Regards to Broadway.

What's left out is the fact Cohan had two wives. His second wife survived him and died in the early Seventies. As his songs became popular in patriotic/rightwing circles, Cohan's personal politics reflected that. He fought hard and lost in the battle for Actors Equity. Cohan thought a union of players was tantamount to Communism. But such was his standing among performers that Cohan was granted the unique privilege of being allowed to appear on stage without having to join Equity once the union was recognized as the bargaining agent for players.

Cohan is shown in Yankee Doodle Dandy as gracefully having retired when other trends in popular music took over. Far from it, he was a very bitter man and when he did that final comeback in I'd Rather Be Right he fought with Kaufman and Hart over the book and Rodgers and Hart over the songs.

But Yankee Doodle Dandy presents the public musical face of George M. Cohan and does it very well. To this day, some forty years after first seeing Yankee Doodle Dandy on television, I love the recreations of Yankee Doodle Dandy, Give My Regards to Broadway, and You're a Grand Old Flag as they were first seen on stage. Plus some of the snatches of the lesser known Cohan songs as performed by the players portraying the Cohan family and others.

When all is said and done, George M. Cohan was a great force of nature in the American musical theater. And we thank his father, mother, and sister, and George M. himself for what he left us.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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