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.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Ivan Goff (screen play), Ben Roberts (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Top Rated Movies #234 | 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:

Searing the screen like the death-blast of a sub-machine gun ! ! ! 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:

White Heat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,534
See more on IMDbPro »

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 gang eludes the police by going into San Val Drive-In Theatre, which opened in 1938 as the second drive-in in California. At its peak it could accommodate about 800 cars. Closed in the mid-'70s, the site is now a low-rise office park housing numerous film and television production and equipment companies. See more »

Goofs

When the gang is leaving the hideout on the way to rob the refinery, the shadow of a camera can be seen on the side of the gas tanker as it pulls onto the road. See more »

Quotes

Philip Evans: Cody's not an easy guy to get close to in a hurry. The only person he's ever cared about or trusted is his mother. No one else has ever made a dent - not even his wife. His mother's been the prop that's held him up. He's got a fierce, psychopathic devotion for her. All his life, whenever he got into a spot he just put out his hand and - there was Ma Jarrett. Without her, maybe Cody'd - just like his old man.
Hank Fallon: You mean I'm supposed to take mama's place?
Philip Evans: You never can tell. He might need someone.
Hank Fallon: ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also Available in a Colorized Version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in V for Vendetta (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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