8.1/10
29,232
188 user 82 critic

White Heat (1949)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 3 September 1949 (USA)
Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
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
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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:

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Thorpe: the sports legend is one of the cons in the "telephone game". See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene the crooks are riding in a late-1940s Cadillac limo. Cadillacs of that vintage had standard rear fender skirts. As the car approaches us we see its left side and the left fender skirt is in place. Then the car goes around a bend and we see the right side. There is no fender skirt on the right rear fender. But a few seconds later the car arrives at the railroad track and stops right on the track. We're looking at the right side of the car and the fender skirt is in place as it should be. The two scenes may have been shot on two different days. Very trivial, of course, except for old car buffs. See more »

Quotes

Cody Jarrett: [while eating a chicken leg, Jarrett speaks to Parker in the trunk of the sedan] How ya doin', Parker?
Roy Parker: It's stuffy in here, I need some air.
Cody Jarrett: Oh, stuffy, huh? I'll give ya a little air.
[pulls a gun from his pants and shoots four times into the trunk]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also Available in a Colorized Version. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in TaleSpin: Bringing Down Babyface (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Five O'Clock Whistle
(1940) (uncredited)
Music by Josef Myrow, Kim Gannon & Gene Irwin
Played on a radio
See more »

User Reviews

 
It ain't subtle, but it's highly entertaining.
2 August 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

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.


15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 188 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

White Heat See more »

Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed