If TCM or some other cable channel is playing the 1942 film "Yankee Doodle Dandy" this Independence Day, I'm sure I'll watch it. I first caught Jimmy Cagney's portrayal of George M. Cohan when I was a boy, and the Hollywood classic remains fresh and vivid.
While the film is corny and loaded with unquestioning patriotism, Cagney's performance as the Broadway maestro is captivating.
Known for his chilling gangster movies, Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" displays an endearing All-American spirit and showman's energy. Cagney's zestful dancing and half-singing rendition of Cohan's Broadway show-stoppers define screen charisma and star power.
Despite its kitschy glorification of war, Cohan's World War I anthem "Overthere" is one of my favorite all-time songs, evoking the historical poignance of a different America and its coming of age as a world power. My heart always melts at "Give My Regards to Broadway."
I confess that while getting in the holiday mood, I've already caught a few of the movie's numbers on YouTube. Yet, if I find the flick somewhere in CableTV land, I know Cagney and the film's magic will capture me once more.