Crap Films II: The Return Of…
Top Of The World, Ma…
I can’t remember when I first saw
Jimmy Cagney breaking the law;
perhaps The Public Enemy;
Cagney pushing a grapefruit into Mae Clarkes face;
but even a small boy
knew electric grace.
It was no surprise to learn later still
he’d begun as a hoofer, dancing Vaudeville;
he moved with a balletic ease:
it made the blood freeze,
whether slapping some sap,
or gliding in for the kill.
Dying in The Public Enemy or giving
Mae Clarke the boot in Lady Killer
snarling like a panther in The Roaring Twenties
or being a bad boy who comes good in
Angels With Dirty Faces or cackling insane
malevolence in White Heat, a crazed Oedipal loon
Before blowing himself to the moon
“Top of the world, Ma…”.
He was compelling: I couldn’t take my eyes off him;
unlike modern stars, who send my eyes straying
over set and scenery, sky and greenery, the script;
whenever Cagney spoke, whatever he was saying
I was totally focused, completely gripped:
I always felt Cagney was never playing.
By the way, all the comments that appear on the poster are genuine. The various reviews can be read here