It Was All Big - and It Worked:James Cagney: 1899-1986

James Cagney: 1899-1986

He was the embodiment of big-city scrappiness, a mean-streets survivor who got ahead on a good grin, good moves and better hustle. To a generation of comic impressionists, Jimmy Cagney's mannerisms became part of the standard repertoire: the tough-guy, tommy-gun chatter, the feinted jab to convey affection (first aimed at Loretta Young in Taxi) and the square-shouldered bantam-cock strut. Public Enemy, White Heat and his other classic gangster movies traded on what he fondly called "my gutter quality." But in more than 60 films, the last of them a made-for-TV movie that aired in March 1984, Cagney stood a head above...

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