This documentary is included with the DVD for "Yankee Doodle Dandy"--a natural combination.
The film begins with an overview of the career of George M. Cohan--the subject of the film. This stage performer, according to the documentary, was quite a bit like Cagney's persona in the film--brash, obnoxious as a young actor and a bit childish. Then, an explanation of the things leading up to the creation of the film were the subject of the film--which made up the bulk of the documentary. Why Cagney chose to make such a film was an interesting tidbit. What I found most interesting, however, is how the film talked about how "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was NOT like the real life of Cohan--some interesting stuff here and little gems for film historians. Overall, it's a wonderful "making of" film--full of wonderful insights and it engenders a lot of interest and appreciation for the original movie.
Interestingly, the DVD also has a biographical retrospective of Cagney and his film career. It seemed very sketchy and lacked the in-depth detail of "Let Freedom Sing!". If you have to watch only one, see "Let Freedom Sing!".
By the way, you may notice John McCabe being interviewed at various points and wonder who he is. McCabe was a writer and film historian who wrote excellent books on Laurel & Hardy as well as other actors. He died shortly after appearing in this film.
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