8.2/10
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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 »
Reviews

On TV

Airs Wed. Feb. 27, 4:00 PM on TCM

ON DISC
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
Edit

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

Although James Cagney found this to be a good picture on a number of levels, in his 1985 autobiography Cagney called the film "another cheapjack job" because of its limited shooting schedule and the studio's decision to "put everybody in it they could get for six bits." Cagney was particularly irritated by the fact that he pressed them to cast his old friend Frank McHugh in the small role of Tommy in order to bring a touch of humour and lightness to the otherwise heavy piece. According to the star, Warners repeatedly agreed to do it, putting Cagney off until the first day of shooting when he was told McHugh wasn't available. Cagney found out later McHugh had never even been asked. See more »

Goofs

In the opening railroad heist, there is a shot of a man jumping down from a tunnel portal onto the train. When he lands the mats used to break his fall can be clearly seen. 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

Spoofed in Hoodwinked! (2005) 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

 
Who But Cagney Could Pull This Off?
17 December 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

If you like James Cagney and you like the film noirs of the late 1940s, well, it doesn't get much better than this.

Cagney, who was always great at playing wild gangsters, makes this film interesting all the way through its two hours. Despite being a half-century old, he was still not far from being at the top of his game. His character, Cody Jarrett, is one of the most famous of the many he portrayed on film, which is saying a lot.

Who could sit on his mother's lap and still look like a tough guy? Not many, but Cagney pulled it off here with his tough mama, played really well by Margaret Wycherly. This was a new type of role for Wycherly, who was used to doing Shakespeare. You wouldn't know it from this "Ma Jarrett" role!

The "hoods" in here are all realistic tough guys and gals. Cagney's two-faced wife is played well by Virginia Mayo, who plays the typical (for this genre) floozy blonde whom you can trust about as far as you can throw.

The final scene - "Top Of World, Ma!" - is one of the most famous in all of film history. It's nice to see a nice print of this out on DVD now and some of the features are very informative. Included is an interview with Mayo, who still looks pretty good for an old lady!


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