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White Heat (1949)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 3 September 1949 (USA)
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.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Ivan Goff (screen play), Ben Roberts (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Cody Jarrett
Virginia Mayo ... Verna Jarrett
Edmond O'Brien ... Hank Fallon aka Vic Pardo
Margaret Wycherly ... Ma Jarrett
Steve Cochran ... Big Ed Somers
John Archer ... Philip Evans
Wally Cassell ... Cotton Valletti
Fred Clark ... The Trader aka 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:

James Cagney Is Red Hot In "White Heat"! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alma negra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unusually close relationship between Cody Jarrett and his domineering mother was inspired by real life bank robbers Kate Barker (aka "Ma Barker") and her sons. See more »

Goofs

As the camera pans the Los Angeles skyline before dissolving to the inside of Evans's office, it is broad daylight. But when the scene dissolves to the office interior, where Evans is interrogating Willie the informant, it's suddenly dark outside as seen through the window, and all the lights in the room are on, further indicating it's night. Subsequently, the scene shifts from the interior of Evans's office back to the L.A. skyline, and once again it's daytime. Also, the skyline shot of the buildings shown after this office scene is obviously a freeze-frame, as the flags are frozen in mid-flutter and there is no other movement visible. See more »

Quotes

Engineer: What's this, a hold-up?
Cody Jarrett: Naw, naw, you're seven minutes late. We're just changin' engineers.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also Available in a Colorized Version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) 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

 
Bridges the gap between film noir and WB's classic gangster flicks.
9 June 2005 | by Ham_and_EggerSee all my reviews

An extraordinary performance from James Cagney turns what might have been a by-the-numbers movie into a masterpiece. Everything revolves around Cagney. Edmond O'Brien, Virginia Mayo, and Margaret Wycherly are all superb, but when Cagney is off the screen you wait for him to come back.

Cody Jarrett (Cagney) is a desperate gangster, standing on the ledge at the end of the Public Enemy era. But 'White Heat' gives us a much more intricate psychological portrait of it's anti-hero protagonist than earlier gangster movies. Cody's dependence on his "Ma" is at the crux of the story; there is no finer example of the corrupted mother in film history, even Mrs. Bates takes a backseat to Ma Jarrett.

Throughout the film, events, and characters, conspire against Cody all leading to his delivering of one of most iconic lines ever concocted by Hollywood. I won't repeat it, you know what it is even if you've never seen the movie, but even with prior knowledge it's still an extraordinarily moving moment given the context in which it's delivered.


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