IMDb > White Heat (1949)
White Heat
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White Heat (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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8.2/10   16,986 votes »
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Up 36% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ivan Goff (screen play) and
Ben Roberts (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for White Heat on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 September 1949 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
James Cagney Is Red Hot In "White Heat"! See more »
Plot:
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 Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
I told you to keep away from that radio. If that battery is dead it'll have company. See more (140 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Cagney ... Cody Jarrett

Virginia Mayo ... Verna Jarrett

Edmond O'Brien ... Hank Fallon / Vic Pardo
Margaret Wycherly ... Ma Jarrett
Steve Cochran ... Big Ed Somers
John Archer ... Philip Evans
Wally Cassell ... Cotton Valletti

Fred Clark ... Trader Winston
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joel Allen ... Operative (uncredited)
Claudia Barrett ... Cashier (uncredited)
Ray Bennett ... Guard (uncredited)
Marshall Bradford ... Chief of Police (uncredited)
Chet Brandenburg ... Convict (uncredited)
John Butler ... Motorist at Gas Station (uncredited)
Robert Carson ... Agent at Directional Map (uncredited)
Bill Cartledge ... Car-Hop at Drive-In Theatre (uncredited)
Leo Cleary ... Railroad Fireman (uncredited)
Fred Coby ... Happy Taylor (uncredited)
Tom Coleman ... Court Officer (uncredited)

G. Pat Collins ... The Reader (uncredited)
Garrett Craig ... Ted Clark (uncredited)
Herschel Daugherty ... Policeman (uncredited)
Fern Eggen ... Margaret Baxter (uncredited)
Charles Ferguson ... Plant Detective (uncredited)
Art Foster ... Guard (uncredited)
Eddie Foster ... Lefeld (uncredited)
Robert Foulk ... Oil Refinery Payroll Guard (uncredited)
Buddy Gorman ... Vendor at Drive-in (uncredited)
Paul Guilfoyle ... Roy Parker (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Court Clerk (uncredited)
Carl Harbaugh ... Foreman (uncredited)
Clarence Hennecke ... Small Role (uncredited)
Perry Ivins ... Dr. Simpson (uncredited)
Colin Kenny ... Prison Guard (uncredited)
Mickey Knox ... Het Kohler (uncredited)
Harry Lauter ... Man with Microphone in Back Seat of Car (uncredited)
DeForrest Lawrence ... Jim Donovan (uncredited)
Nolan Leary ... Russ (uncredited)
Murray Leonard ... Engineer (uncredited)
Ian MacDonald ... Bo Creel (uncredited)
Larry McGrath ... Clocker (uncredited)
John McGuire ... Psychiatrist #2 (uncredited)

Sid Melton ... Russell Hughes (uncredited)
Art Miles ... Guard (uncredited)
Ray Montgomery ... Ernie (uncredited)
Terry O'Sullivan ... Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Robert Osterloh ... Tommy Ryley (uncredited)
Milton Parsons ... Willie Rolf (uncredited)
Jack Perrin ... Policeman (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Convict (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Prison Tower Guard (uncredited)
Eddie Phillips ... T-Man (uncredited)
John Pickard ... T-Man Driving Car C (uncredited)
Ford Rainey ... Zuckie Hommell (uncredited)
Joey Ray ... T-Man (uncredited)
Grandon Rhodes ... Dr. Harris - Psychiatrist #1 (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Plant Detective (uncredited)
George Spaulding ... Judge (uncredited)
Harry Strang ... Prison Infirmary Guard (uncredited)
George Taylor ... Police Surgeon at Tahoe Morgue (uncredited)
Jim Thorpe ... Big Convict (uncredited)
Jim Toney ... Brakeman (uncredited)
Ralph Volkie ... Jerry - The Reader's Lawyer (uncredited)
Jack Worth ... Guard (uncredited)
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Directed by
Raoul Walsh 
 
Writing credits
Ivan Goff (screen play) and
Ben Roberts (screen play)

Virginia Kellogg (suggested by a story by)

Produced by
Louis F. Edelman .... producer
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Sidney Hickox (director of photography) (as Sid Hickox)
 
Film Editing by
Owen Marks (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Edward Carrere 
 
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean 
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Edwin Allen .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Gertrude Wheeler .... hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Russell Saunders .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Leslie G. Hewitt .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Roy Davidson .... special effects director
Hans F. Koenekamp .... special effects (as H.F. Koenekamp)
 
Stunts
Audrey Scott .... stunt double: Virginia Mayo (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Frank Bjerring .... still photographer (uncredited)
Paul Burnett .... gaffer (uncredited)
Mike Joyce .... camera operator (uncredited)
Dudie Maschmeyer .... grip (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Leah Rhodes .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Murray Cutter .... orchestrator
 
Other crew
Irva Mae Ross .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
114 min | West Germany:90 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Australia:M (DVD rating) | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-15 (2004) | Finland:(Banned) (1950) | Iceland:12 | Portugal:M/16 | South Korea:15 | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1962) | Sweden:(Banned) (original rating) (1949) | UK:15 | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #13852) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The train robbery was filmed using the former Southern Pacific tunnel in Chatsworth, CA. The Line is now owned by Union Pacific and was the location of a tragic 2008 head-on collision that killed 25 people.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Pardo is in line to get his injection, he starts a fight to get off the line and avoid being recognized by Bo Creel. But starting the fight draws more attention to him than if he'd remained quietly on line, and increased his chances of being spotted and identified. Also, the inmate giving the shots was looking at the arms of those on line, not their faces, as they moved passed him.See more »
Quotes:
Verna Jarrett:I'd look good in a mink coat, honey.
Cody Jarrett:You'd look good in a shower curtain.
See more »
Soundtrack:
Five O'Clock WhistleSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
I told you to keep away from that radio. If that battery is dead it'll have company., 4 March 2008
Author: JohnRouseMerriottChard from United Kingdom

White Heat is directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted by Ivan Goff & Ben Roberts from a story suggested by Virginia Kellogg. It stars James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Steve Cochran & Margaret Wycherly. Music is by Max Steiner and photography by Sidney Hickox.

Cody Jarrett (Cagney) is the sadistic leader of a violent and ruthless gang of thieves. Unnervingly devoted to his mother (Wycherly) and afflicted by terrible headaches since childhood, Cody is one bad day away from being a full blown psychotic. That day is coming soon, and everyone in his way is sure to pay.

Around the time of White Heat being released, two things were evident as regards its star and its themes. One is that it had been a long time since a gangster, and a truly vicious one at that, had thrilled or frightened a cinema audience. The Production Code and a change in emotional value due to World War II had seen the genuine career gangster all but disappear. Second thing of note is that Cagney was stung by the disappointing performance of Cagney Productions. So after having left Warner Brothers in 1942, the diminutive star re-signed for the studio and returned to the genre he had almost made his own in the 30s. He of course had some say in proceedings, such as urging the makers to ensure a crime does not pay motif, but all told he needed a hit and the fit with Raoul Walsh and the psychotic Jarrett was perfect. It may not be his best acting performance, but it's certainly his most potent and arguably it's the cream of the gangster genre crop.

The inspiration for the film is mostly agreed to be the real life criminals: Ma Barker, Arthur "Doc" Barker and Francis Crowley. A point of worth being that they were all 30s criminals since White Heat very much looks and feels like a 30s movie. Cagney for sure is older (he was 50 at the time) and more rotund, but he and the film have the presence and vibrancy respectively to keep it suitably in period and in the process becoming the last of its kind. White Heat is that rare old beast that manages to have a conventional action story at its core, yet still be unique in structure and portrayal of the lead character. Neatly crafted by Walsh around four Cody Jarrett "moments" of importance, the Oedipal tones playing out between Cody and his Ma make for an uneasy experience, but even then Walsh and the team pull a rabbit out the hat by still garnering sympathy for the crazed protagonist. It sounds nutty, but it really is one of the big reasons why White Heat is the great film that it is. Another reason of course is "those" special scenes, two of which are folklore cinematic legends now. Note legend number 1 as Cody, incarcerated, receives bad news, the reaction is at once terrifying and pitiful (note the extras reaction here since they didn't know what was coming). Legend number 2 comes with "that" ending, forever quotable and as octane ignited finale's go it takes some beating.

As brilliant and memorable as Cagney is, it's not, however, a one man show. He's superbly directed by Walsh, with the great director maintaining a pace and rhythm to match Cody Jarrett's state of mind. And with Steiner (Angels With Dirty Faces/Casablanca/Key Largo) scoring with eerie strands and strains, and Hickox (The Big Sleep/To Have and Have Not) adding noir flourishes for realism and atmosphere, it's technically a very smart picture. The supporting cast in the face of Cagney's barnstorming come up with sterling work. Wycherly is glorious as the tough and tetchy Ma Jarrett and O'Brien is needed to be spot on in the film's second most important role; a role that calls for him to not only be the first man Cody has ever trusted, but also as some sort of weird surrogate mother! Mayo isn't called on to do much, but she's gorgeous and sexy and fatalistic in sheen. While Cochran holds his end up well as the right hand man getting ideas above his station.

White Heat is as tough as they come, a gritty pulsating psycho drama that has many visual delights and scenes that are still as powerful and as shocking some 60 odd years since it first hit the silver screen. What is often forgotten, when yet another clip of the brilliant ending is shown on TV, is that it's also a weird and snarky piece of film. All told, it is blisteringly hot. 10/10

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