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White Heat (1949)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 17,460 users  
Reviews: 142 user | 81 critic

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: White Heat (1949)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Margaret Wycherly ...
Steve Cochran ...
John Archer ...
Wally Cassell ...
...
Trader Winston
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Storyline

Cody Jarrett is the sadistic leader of a ruthless gang of thieves. Afflicted by terrible headaches and fiercely devoted to his 'Ma,' Cody is a volatile, violent, and eccentric leader. Cody's top henchman wants to lead the gang and attempts to have an 'accident' happen to Cody, while he is running the gang from in jail. But Cody is saved by an undercover cop, who thereby befriends him and infiltrates the gang. Finally, the stage is set for Cody's ultimate betrayal and downfall, during a big heist at a chemical plant. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pick up the pieces folks, Jimmy's in action again! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fúria Sanguinária  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Thorpe:  the sports legend is one of the cons in the "telephone game". See more »

Goofs

After the train job at the first hide-out, some of the gang is gathered around the 1947 Cadillac 75 limo listening to the radio news about their caper. A shot of the interior shows a chrome "Cadillac" script on a plate above the radio speaker grille. This plate must be removed when a radio is installed as this is where the dial, controls, and push buttons are located. Since the plate is still present, it means in reality there is no radio in the car. See more »

Quotes

[the sound of shooting is heard]
Zuckie Hommell: Sounds bad, Cody.
Cody Jarrett: Why don't you give 'em my address too...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in MythBusters: Bubble Trouble (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Five O'Clock Whistle
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Josef Myrow, Kim Gannon & Gene Irwin
Played on a radio
See more »

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User Reviews

Cagney's last great gangster film was his best...
15 June 2002 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

WHITE HEAT is the ultimate gangster melodrama with the great James Cagney at the peak of his powers. No one else in the cast is a slouch either--Virginia Mayo convinces me that Bette Davis was right when she suggested Mayo should have played Rosa Moline in BEYOND THE FOREST.

Edmond O'Brien as a doggedly determined cop pretending to be a prisoner to get close to Cagney, is excellent, as he always is in these kind of roles. Steve Cochran's dirty lowdown heel is a standout as the darkly handsome actor makes the most of every line, especially in his scenes opposite Virginia Mayo.

Director Raoul Walsh keeps the film spinning along at a fast clip, never once letting the rather uncomplicated plot lose any of its tension as he underscores the pathology of Cody Jarrett's character, a man obsessed by his conniving mother (Margaret Wycherly). Cagney's prison breakup scene is masterfully handled by the actor and staged for maximum effect. A rousing score by Max Steiner underlines all of the suspenseful action and there's an electrifying climax with Cagney's famous "Top of the world, ma!" before he meets his end.

James Cagney has never had a better gangster role and he's given brilliant support by an outstanding cast. By all means, worth viewing as one of the great Warner crime melodramas of the late '40s.


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