The New Pictures, Sep. 19, 1949

White Heat (Warner) is in the hurtling tabloid tradition of the gangster movies of the '30s, but its matter-of-fact violence is a new, postwar style. Brilliantly directed by Raoul (Roaring Twenties) Walsh, an old master of cinema hoodlumism, it returns a more subtle James Cagney to the kind of thug role that made him famous.

Playing a paunchy, mother-dependent killer, Cagney empties his pistol into his victim with the calm, preoccupied expression of a pedestrian waiting for a street light to change. There is none of the shock technique of The Public Enemy —no audience-deafening gun blasts, no close-ups of the killer's...

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