James Cagney: Top Of The World


60m 1992

Brief Synopsis

Michael J. Fox hosts this documentary featuring film clips and rare behind-the-scenes footage that traces superstar James Cagney's rise to the top.

Film Details

Also Known As
James Cagney, en la cima del mundo, James Cagney: Acima do Mundo, James Cagney: Top of the World
Genre
Documentary
Biography
Release Date
1992

Technical Specs

Duration
60m

Synopsis

Michael J. Fox hosts film clips and rare behind-the-scenes footage that trace superstar James Cagney's rise to the top.

Film Details

Also Known As
James Cagney, en la cima del mundo, James Cagney: Acima do Mundo, James Cagney: Top of the World
Genre
Documentary
Biography
Release Date
1992

Technical Specs

Duration
60m

Articles

James Cagney: Top of the World


The Turner Pictures original documentary James Cagney: Top of the World (1992), hosted by actor Michael J. Fox, gives a fascinating glimpse into the life and career of screen legend James Cagney.

From his explosive tough guy image in the gangster pictures that made him famous to his notorious battles with Jack Warner and his Oscar®-winning triumph in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), James Cagney continually impressed audiences with his tremendous talent and versatility. James Cagney: Top of the World explores Cagney's distinguished 63-film career beginning with his working class roots and early days in vaudeville through his star-making performance as Tommy Powers in The Public Enemy (1931). The documentary also examines James Cagney, the man. A bigger-than-life presence on the silver screen, Cagney was a private and unassuming man when he wasn't acting. Bucking the Hollywood norm, he remained married to the same woman for 64 years and lived quietly out of the spotlight on his beloved farm on Martha's Vineyard.

Produced and directed by Carl H. Lindahl, James Cagney: Top of the World also features interviews with Cagney's daughter Casey Cagney Thomas, Jack Lemmon, Mae Clarke and screenwriter Julius Epstein.

Director: Carl Lindahl
Screenplay: Bob Waldman and Carl Lindahl
Cinematography: Harry Dawson
Music: Richard Reiter
Film Editing: Karl Woitach
Cast: Host (Michael J. Fox), James Cagney, Casey Cagney Thomas, Mae Clarke, Julius Epstein, David Huddelston, Burt Kennedy, Jack Lemmon, Joan Leslie, Virginia Mayo.
BW&C-47m. Closed captioning.

by Andrea Passafiume
James Cagney: Top Of The World

James Cagney: Top of the World

The Turner Pictures original documentary James Cagney: Top of the World (1992), hosted by actor Michael J. Fox, gives a fascinating glimpse into the life and career of screen legend James Cagney. From his explosive tough guy image in the gangster pictures that made him famous to his notorious battles with Jack Warner and his Oscar®-winning triumph in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), James Cagney continually impressed audiences with his tremendous talent and versatility. James Cagney: Top of the World explores Cagney's distinguished 63-film career beginning with his working class roots and early days in vaudeville through his star-making performance as Tommy Powers in The Public Enemy (1931). The documentary also examines James Cagney, the man. A bigger-than-life presence on the silver screen, Cagney was a private and unassuming man when he wasn't acting. Bucking the Hollywood norm, he remained married to the same woman for 64 years and lived quietly out of the spotlight on his beloved farm on Martha's Vineyard. Produced and directed by Carl H. Lindahl, James Cagney: Top of the World also features interviews with Cagney's daughter Casey Cagney Thomas, Jack Lemmon, Mae Clarke and screenwriter Julius Epstein. Director: Carl Lindahl Screenplay: Bob Waldman and Carl Lindahl Cinematography: Harry Dawson Music: Richard Reiter Film Editing: Karl Woitach Cast: Host (Michael J. Fox), James Cagney, Casey Cagney Thomas, Mae Clarke, Julius Epstein, David Huddelston, Burt Kennedy, Jack Lemmon, Joan Leslie, Virginia Mayo. BW&C-47m. Closed captioning. by Andrea Passafiume

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005)


Virginia Mayo, the delectable, "peaches and cream" leading lady of the 40s, who on occasion, could prove herself quite capable in dramatic parts, died on January 17 at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 84.

She was born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri on November 30, 1920, and got her show business start at the age of six by enrolling in her aunt's School of Dramatic Expression. While still in her teens, she joined the nightclub circuit, and after paying her dues for a few years traveling across the country, she eventually caught the eye of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He gave her a small role in her first film, starring future husband, Michael O'Shea, in Jack London (1943). She then received minor billing as a "Goldwyn Girl," in the Danny Kaye farce, Up In Arms (1944). Almost immediately, Goldwyn saw her natural movement, comfort and ease in front of the camera, and in just her fourth film, she landed a plumb lead opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944). She proved a hit with moviegoers, and her next two films would be with her most frequent leading man, Danny Kaye: Wonder Man (1945), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Both films were big hits, and the chemistry between Mayo and Kaye - the classy, reserved blonde beauty clashing with the hyperactive clown - was surprisingly successful.

Mayo did make a brief break from light comedy, and gave a good performance as Dana Andrews' unfaithful wife, Marie, in the popular post-war drama, The Best Years of Their Lives (1946); but despite the good reviews, she was back with Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and A Song Is Born (1948).

It wasn't until the following year that Mayo got the chance to sink her teeth into a meaty role. That film, White Heat (1949), and her role, as Cody Jarrett's (James Cagney) sluttish, conniving wife, Verna, is memorable for the sheer ruthlessness of her performance. Remember, it was Verna who shot Cody¿s mother in the back, and yet when Cody confronts her after he escapes from prison to exact revenge for her death, Verna effectively places the blame on Big Ed (Steve Cochran):

Verna: I can't tell you Cody!
Cody: Tell me!
Verna: Ed...he shot her in the back!!!

Critics and fans purred over the newfound versatility, yet strangely, she never found a part as juicy as Verna again. Her next film, with Cagney, The West Point Story (1950), was a pleasant enough musical; but her role as Lady Wellesley in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), co-starring Gregory Peck, was merely decorative; that of a burlesque queen attempting to earn a university degree in the gormless comedy, She¿s Working Her Way Through College (1952); and worst of all, the Biblical bomb, The Silver Chalice (1954) which was, incidentally, Paul Newman's film debut, and is a film he still derides as the worst of his career.

Realizing that her future in movies was slowing down, she turned to the supper club circuit in the 60s with her husband, Michael O'Shea, touring the country in such productions as No, No Nanette, Barefoot in the Park, Hello Dolly, and Butterflies Are Free. Like most performers who had outdistanced their glory days with the film industry, Mayo turned to television for the next two decades, appearing in such shows as Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder She Wrote, and Remington Steele. She even earned a recurring role in the short-lived NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1984-85), playing an aging hoofer named "Peaches DeLight." Mayo was married to O'Shea from 1947 until his death in 1973. She is survived by their daughter, Mary Johnston; and three grandsons.

by Michael T. Toole

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005)

Virginia Mayo, the delectable, "peaches and cream" leading lady of the 40s, who on occasion, could prove herself quite capable in dramatic parts, died on January 17 at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 84. She was born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri on November 30, 1920, and got her show business start at the age of six by enrolling in her aunt's School of Dramatic Expression. While still in her teens, she joined the nightclub circuit, and after paying her dues for a few years traveling across the country, she eventually caught the eye of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He gave her a small role in her first film, starring future husband, Michael O'Shea, in Jack London (1943). She then received minor billing as a "Goldwyn Girl," in the Danny Kaye farce, Up In Arms (1944). Almost immediately, Goldwyn saw her natural movement, comfort and ease in front of the camera, and in just her fourth film, she landed a plumb lead opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944). She proved a hit with moviegoers, and her next two films would be with her most frequent leading man, Danny Kaye: Wonder Man (1945), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Both films were big hits, and the chemistry between Mayo and Kaye - the classy, reserved blonde beauty clashing with the hyperactive clown - was surprisingly successful. Mayo did make a brief break from light comedy, and gave a good performance as Dana Andrews' unfaithful wife, Marie, in the popular post-war drama, The Best Years of Their Lives (1946); but despite the good reviews, she was back with Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and A Song Is Born (1948). It wasn't until the following year that Mayo got the chance to sink her teeth into a meaty role. That film, White Heat (1949), and her role, as Cody Jarrett's (James Cagney) sluttish, conniving wife, Verna, is memorable for the sheer ruthlessness of her performance. Remember, it was Verna who shot Cody¿s mother in the back, and yet when Cody confronts her after he escapes from prison to exact revenge for her death, Verna effectively places the blame on Big Ed (Steve Cochran): Verna: I can't tell you Cody! Cody: Tell me! Verna: Ed...he shot her in the back!!! Critics and fans purred over the newfound versatility, yet strangely, she never found a part as juicy as Verna again. Her next film, with Cagney, The West Point Story (1950), was a pleasant enough musical; but her role as Lady Wellesley in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), co-starring Gregory Peck, was merely decorative; that of a burlesque queen attempting to earn a university degree in the gormless comedy, She¿s Working Her Way Through College (1952); and worst of all, the Biblical bomb, The Silver Chalice (1954) which was, incidentally, Paul Newman's film debut, and is a film he still derides as the worst of his career. Realizing that her future in movies was slowing down, she turned to the supper club circuit in the 60s with her husband, Michael O'Shea, touring the country in such productions as No, No Nanette, Barefoot in the Park, Hello Dolly, and Butterflies Are Free. Like most performers who had outdistanced their glory days with the film industry, Mayo turned to television for the next two decades, appearing in such shows as Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder She Wrote, and Remington Steele. She even earned a recurring role in the short-lived NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1984-85), playing an aging hoofer named "Peaches DeLight." Mayo was married to O'Shea from 1947 until his death in 1973. She is survived by their daughter, Mary Johnston; and three grandsons. by Michael T. Toole

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