YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) B/W 126m dir: Michael Curtiz
w/James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, George Tobias, Irene Manning, Rosemary De Camp, Jeanne Cagney, S.Z. Sakall, George Barbier
From The Movie Guide: "The real George M. Cohan had just had a serious operation and was recuperating in his upstate New York home when he was shown, in a private screening, this film of his life starring the indefatigable James Cagney. The great showman watched the movie without a word. When it was finished he was asked how he liked it. Cohan grinned, shook his head, and paid the great Cagney his highest compliment: 'My God, what an act to follow!' This beguiling film, which deservedly won Cagney a Best Actor Oscar, presents an irresistible portrait of song-and-dance man Cohan and of early 20th-century America. It's heartfelt entertainment and anyone who ever whistled a tune, tapped a toe or hummed a bar of music will love it. This was Cagney's favorite film and his favorite number was, in his own words, 'when I did the "wings" coming down the stairs at the White House. Didn't think of it until five minutes before I went on. I didn't consult with the director or anything, I just did it.'"
Besides Cagney's Best Actor Oscar, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY won two other Academy Awards: Best Score (Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld) and Sound (Nathan Levinson). It was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Huston), Original Story (Robert Buckner), and Editing (George Amy).