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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: cigar joe on September 22, 2011, 07:30:14 PM



Title: White Heat (1949)
Post by: cigar joe on September 22, 2011, 07:30:14 PM
Director: Raoul Walsh, with James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly, and Steve Cochran. This was Cagney's return to gangster films after about a 10 year hiatus. Cagney is Cody Jarrett, he's older and a psychopathic hood with serious mother obsession in this go round.

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/wh.jpg)

Mayo is his neglected child bride, and O'Brien in this Noir is the undercover cop that infiltrates the gang.

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/whiteheat3.jpg)

The film has some exciting sequences beginning with the opening train robbery in the Sierras, the episode in the prison mess hall where Jarrett goes nuts, and the scene where Jarrett, in classic picaresque fashion, ventilates a trunk so its occupant can breath.... with a Colt .45 (below) while gnawing a chicken leg.  O0 O0 O0

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/shootingtrunk.jpg)

Of course the "Top of the World'' finale is now movie legend.

I caught this film tonight on TCM (I don't own it, so I have no idea on the quality of available DVD's or Blue Ray) , its understandably regarded as a great Noir film with the Iconic Cagney in classic gangster mode, but aside from those sequences noted above the film is unfortunately confined for long sequences housebound, in bland rural hideouts, without any interesting forays to any colorfully decaying gas station/cafe's etc., etc., that would have provided some diversity. 8/10.

It lacks (for me) the gritty dark cityscapes that elevate certain Noir's up a notch.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: dave jenkins on September 23, 2011, 08:20:41 AM
To my way of thinking it too much resembles the films of the 30s gangster cycle, and so is not a true noir.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: titoli on September 23, 2011, 09:30:10 AM
The most memorable scene is the one in the mess hall. I also like the shooting in the hood ("want some air?"). I have the dvd but haven't seen it yet. 


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 01, 2012, 12:41:53 PM
To my way of thinking it too much resembles the films of the 30s gangster cycle, and so is not a true noir.

yeah, IMO this is a gangster film just like all the gangster films of the 30's. It's just that, (as I heard someone describe it, may have been Scorcese?) Cody Jarrett lived a little longer than the other guys did  ;)
if you are gonna put White Heat in the noir category, why not all the other gangster films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, et. al.? (All that really distinguishes White Heat is that it was released during the Noir time period, which I guess officially (or as "officially" as the unofficial world of noir can get) began with The Maltese Falcon in 1941.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: dave jenkins on July 01, 2012, 01:01:19 PM
if you are gonna put White Heat in the noir category, why not all the other gangster films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, et. al.? (All that really distinguishes White Heat is that it was released during the Noir time period, which I guess officially (or as "officially" as the unofficial world of noir can get) began with The Maltese Falcon in 1941.
This is the crux of the matter. Although not everyone agrees that TMF kicks off the cycle, it can't have begun much before it (that is, unless you count the 30s gangster pictures, which no one does). Interestingly, the end of the cycle is most open to dispute. Noir, if it can be said to have existed at all, clearly migrated to TV in the 50s, and thrived there (in Perry Mason, The Fugitive, et. al.) even after it was no longer viable in film. The coming of color, and eliminaiton of b&w shows in prime time by 1966, doomed noir.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: Groggy on July 01, 2012, 01:03:00 PM
To my way of thinking it too much resembles the films of the 30s gangster cycle, and so is not a true noir.

Definitely. There's nothing really noir about it. Good movie though.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 01, 2012, 01:10:32 PM
I'm not really arguing ABSOLUTELY whether or not it is a noir. I don't know much about that. But I am arguing RELATIVELY that if White Heat makes the cut, so do all the other gangster films


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 01, 2012, 01:16:46 PM
This is the crux of the matter. Although not everyone agrees that TMF kicks off the cycle, it can't have begun much before it (that is, unless you count the 30s gangster pictures, which no one does). Interestingly, the end of the cycle is most open to dispute. Noir, if it can be said to have existed at all, clearly migrated to TV in the 50s, and thrived there (in Perry Mason, The Fugitive, et. al.) even after it was no longer viable in film. The coming of color, and eliminaiton of b&w shows in prime time by 1966, doomed noir.

I guess that the color ones that were released during the B/W-era are called Color Noirs (eg. Niagara (1953), Slightly Scarlet (1956)).

And those released after B/W was finished are called Neo Noirs [eg. The Long Goodbye (1973); Body Heat (1981), The Last Seduction (1994)].


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: cigar joe on July 01, 2012, 01:50:31 PM
I guess that the color ones that were released during the B/W-era are called Color Noirs (eg. Niagara (1953), Slightly Scarlet (1956)).

And those released after B/W was finished are called Neo Noirs [eg. The Long Goodbye (1973); Body Heat (1981), The Last Seduction (1994)].

Yea that's the jist of it.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: dave jenkins on July 01, 2012, 03:33:30 PM
Except I wouldn't call Slightly Scarlet a noir. It's a melodrama with crooks.

And I wouldn't call The Long Goodbye a neo-noir (although it is a neo-PI film).

Body Heat could be considered a neo-noir though, because it is self-consciously appropriating the tropes of films from the classic noir period. The Last Seduction might qualify as well.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 19, 2013, 11:56:42 AM
Blu-ray.com gives top marks for the image on the new release. Ordered!
Quote
White Heat 5/5

White Heat was shot by director Walsh's frequent collaborator Sidney Hickox, a highly regarded Warner cinematographer, who also shot To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep for Howard Hawks. Hickox's gritty, realistic style is beautifully represented on Warner's 1080p, AVC-encoded picture, for which the source material is in pristine shape. The detail is exceptional, the blacks are deep and solid, the contrast is excellent and the finely delineated shades of gray give the image substance and depth. The film's grain pattern is fine and natural-looking, and Warner has used a BD-50 for this 113-minute film (the longest of the four included in the Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics box set), which allows for an average bitrate of 28.97 Mbps. This is a first-rate presentation of one of the glories of Warner's catalog.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 24, 2013, 10:47:30 PM
Blu-ray.com gives top marks for the image on the new release. Ordered!

I ordered the whole Ultimate Gangsters Collection boxset, which includes White Heat, The Public Enemy, The Petrified Forest, and Little Caesar.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 24, 2013, 10:52:22 PM
I rate White Heat an 8/10  O0


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: titoli on September 10, 2015, 07:40:32 AM
9/10. I would have gladly made without Cagney self-explanation scene with O'Brien.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 10, 2015, 10:10:54 AM
9/10. I would have gladly made without Cagney self-explanation scene with O'Brien.

On recent viewings I think I'd go higher than the 8/10 that I gave it a while ago. I'd probably give it a 9/10, too.

To me the one major flaw of the movie is the very last line, uttered by O'Brien. The movie should have ended with Cagney blowing up into the mushroom cloud and screaming "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" But then it cuts back to O'Brien for a line or preaching, where he says something like, "Cody Jarrett, made it to the top of the world, and it blew up in his face." No kidding. Ugh. I don't know, maybe it was a Hays Code thing. Who knows. Anyway, whenever I watch the movie, I click 'End" as soon as Jarrett says his final line, so I don't have to watch it cutting back to O'Brien for the worst line in movie history. For me, the movie ends with Cagney.

Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

 :)


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: cigar joe on September 11, 2015, 06:29:01 AM
Agree about the last line, and it probably has to do with the Hayes Code.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: titoli on September 11, 2015, 09:12:02 AM
The "blow in the face" line is also a quotation from the movie itself and it fits with with the O'Brien character: I wouldn't expect anything less from a professional snitch. So I'm not bothered by the ending: O'Brien says a quite harsh line (certainly not a generous one) which reflects more negatively on him than on Cagney, who had trusted him. I don't think it has anything to do with censorship for this reason and also because this movie seems to have passed unnoticed at the Hays board. Actually, though this was my third or fourth viewing, I still wonder how it could ever have been released in 1949: I just can't think of any movie made before, even in the pre-code period, as tough.  I think that only in the '70's Hollywood started producing movies which can be compared to it as to toughness and sadism.  And still I wonder which scenes have surpassed Cagney killing the engineers, kicking Mayo on the bed, the man in the trunk who can't breathe, inviting Mayo as for a walk before kicking Cochrane's corpse downstairs etc.. Goodfellas can be compared, but of course there you don't have Cagney.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 13, 2015, 08:52:37 AM
Supposedly, the way they got around the Breen office was by making Jarrett crazy. After the Code began being enforced, you needed some sort of "reason" for why criminals committed crimes (hence the 'socially conscious' gangster films of the late 30's - the gangsters were a product of their environment, merely 'angels with dirty faces.') The way the story goes, when Cagney was thinking about the Jarrett character, he said something like, 'let's make him nuts' - I don't know whether Cagney was specifically thinking about how to appease Breen, but making Jarrett insane is supposedly is how they were able to avoid problems with Breen - he doesn't need a specific reason for crime; he's insane!
Also, by this time, we were deep into the noir era, which had a very different type of criminal - usually a lone person, not a real bad guy, but a regular person who just got himself into a bad situation, rather than the organized criminal groups that we call "gangster movies." I can't think of another (famous) gangster movie besides WHITE HEAT during the 'noir era' (40's and 50's). During the noir era, I think the 'bad stuff' in movies was more sexual and not organized crime; just a wild guess, I wonder if the Breen office was by that time less focused on censoring criminal gangs and more focused on sexuality.
Who knows.
I am sure the Warner archives have the memos with the censorship board; would be interesting to see them. You can try emailing those commentators on the Warner DVD's (Drew Casper, Alain Silver, James Ursini, Leaonard Maltin, et al) maybe they have seen those memos.


Title: Re: White Heat (1949)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 01, 2017, 12:29:27 AM
On recent viewings I think I'd go higher than the 8/10 that I gave it a while ago. I'd probably give it a 9/10, too.

To me the one major flaw of the movie is the very last line, uttered by O'Brien. The movie should have ended with Cagney blowing up into the mushroom cloud and screaming "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" But then it cuts back to O'Brien for a line or preaching, where he says something like, "Cody Jarrett, made it to the top of the world, and it blew up in his face." No kidding. Ugh. I don't know, maybe it was a Hays Code thing. Who knows. Anyway, whenever I watch the movie, I click 'End" as soon as Jarrett says his final line, so I don't have to watch it cutting back to O'Brien for the worst line in movie history. For me, the movie ends with Cagney.

Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

 :)

Just watched the movie again on BRD.

Feel just like I did last time: 9/10, and I clicked it off as soon as Jarrett utters his last line and blows up in ghe mushroom cloud.


BRD looks nice. One or two shots I noticed may be a bit screwed up - literally just one or two moments in the entire disc. Very nice-looking image.

 The sound seems kind of low: I noticed that I had to turn my speaker higher than usual in order to hear.

I love this movie! This is a movie I'll probably watch every year for the rest of my life  :) :) :)