A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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>
When Cody is ventilating the car trunk for Parker, he is using a Colt 1911A1 pistol. When he runs out of bullets, the gun clicks when he pulls the trigger -- on a 1911A1 when the magazine is empty, the slide locks back and pulling the trigger does nothing - that doesn't happen with Cody's gun. See more »
After a long absence from gangster films, Jimmy Cagney returned in WHITE HEAT. However, it's not just a typical gangster film as Cagney plays one of the craziest killers in film history--and the final product is incredibly entertaining.
Cagney plays a combination momma's boy and antisocial killing machine. What makes this more interesting is his unusually close relationship with his mother--who follows him as he goes on bank jobs around the country. While he has a girlfriend (Virginia Mayo), he's so attached to Mom that he cannot live without her. Heck, I almost expected to see him in bed with her--they were that close and it was very creepy. It was like Freud's idea of the Oedipal Complex except Cagney DID succeed in seducing and capturing his mother! Later in the film, Cagney's mother is killed--after which, Cagney becomes a lot more imbalanced. In addition to this, he has periodic blinding headaches and it's almost comical to see him writhing in pain one minute and blasting some guy for practically no reason the next!
After this gang evades the police for some time, a special agent (Edmund O'Brien) insinuates himself into the gang--becoming a trusted friend of Cagney in the process. Eventually, of course, the gang is captured and Cagney is confronted by a bazillion law enforcement officers in the most spectacular ending of any film noir picture in history. You just have to see it to believe it!
Overall, a great script with lots of interesting psychological components. While Cagney's performance isn't the lest bit subtle, it certainly is very entertaining. For any lover of noir, this is a must-see and one of the most memorable films in movie history.
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