Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PTA DVD Pick: ‘White Heat' (1949)

Another bit of new old news here while we pass the time. We recently came across this link that revealed Paul introduced an Academy screening of the James Cagney classic "White Heat" last year in LA. In lieu of an official DVD pick (if anyone has a transcription of what he said during his intro that would be great), we thought we'd pass that recommendation along here. Synopsis below (via Amazon):
This superb 1949 crime drama takes elements of plot, character, and theme familiar from '30s melodramas and orchestrates them as an existential tragedy noir. James Cagney, in a towering performance, is Cody Jarrett, a transparently psychotic robber with a molten temper, feral cunning, and mercurial charm that are finely calibrated extensions of the doomed gangsters he played a decade before, this time coiled not around a Depression-era impetus of greed or class rivalry, but an Oedipal bond. Cody's beloved, calculating "Ma" (Margaret Wycherly) is the compass for his every move, her iron will and long shadow acknowledged not only by Cody but by his gang, his bored, restless wife (Virginia Mayo, radiating sensuality and guile), and the undercover cop (Edmond O'Brien) planted in Jarrett's path.
In other news, actor Jonah Hill recently joined Twitter and made "Punch-Drunk Love" his Movie Of The Day. You'll remember he also had "Boogie Nights" in his Top 5 so it looks like he's officially a fan.

As always, you can get the latest news on Cigarettes & Red Vines on Twitter and Facebook. Tell your friends.


  1. Waaaay late on this, but I was at this screening. I regularly tell people this, but this was part of the Academy Writer's series for Noir films. I will spend a little time finding the program for it (which features some great production stills of the movie). I can't remember what Paul said exactly, but he defined what noir means to him (gosh I wish I could remember exactly what he said) and then at the end he mentioned that bit of trivia that no one in the mess hall knew that cagney was gonna flip when he heard about his mother.

    The most important part though? Paul was literally the only writer that spoke before these movies who actually stayed to watch the entire film. Sometimes, you feel like the guy is one of us -- just a guy who fucking loves film.


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