Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
This Musical biography of George M. Cohan earned James Cagney his only Best Actor Oscar (out of three nominations) and Walter Huston his third nomination though his first for Supporting Actor (he was to win his only Oscar on his next & last nomination for Supporting Actor in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre seven years later). Cagney is balletic as the famous song & dance man composer writer producer & performer. Also with Joan Leslie who plays his wife Mary and the source of one of his most memorable hit songs in this somewhat fictionalized story which captures the essence of this great patriot. Huston plays Cohan’s father Jerry Rosemary DeCamp his mother and Jeanne Cagney his (real-life) sister as the four Cohans perform along with standout George. Richard Whorf plays Cohan’s business partner of 15 years Sam Harris; Irene Manning plays theater star Fay Templeton; George Tobias plays a competing producer; Frances Langford "belts out" many of the songs; Eddie Foy Jr. plays his father; and S. Z. Sakall plays the man with the money who along with Harris "discovers" Cohan giving him his first chance on Broadway. Harry Hayden appears uncredited as the doctor near the end of the story.
The film its director (Michael Curtiz) the editing and the story were also Oscar nominated. Besides for Cagney it also won Oscars for Sound Recording and Musical Scoring. Added to the National Film Registry in 1993. #100 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies list. "The Yankee Doodle Boy" is #71 on AFI’s 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time but the film’s Score also includes "Give My Regards to Broadway" "Over There" and "You’re a Grand Old Flag" making it required viewing and an outstanding Fourth of July film! Cagney’s oft repeated line "My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you." is #97 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movie Quotes list. #88 on AFI’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies list. #18 on AFI’s 25 Greatest Movie Musicals list.