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Big screen classics

White Heat

Noir classic starring James Cagney as a scarily convincing psychotic hoodlum with a mother fixation.

Image from White Heat

USA 1949
Dir Raoul Walsh
With James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O’Brien
Certificate 15

Hardly surprising that Fassbinder – a Walsh fan anyway, whose love of vintage gangster movies was evident in films like Love Is Colder than Death and The American Soldier – should have name-checked this admirably unsentimental portrait of psychotic hoodlum Cody Jarrett (Cagney at his snarling best). Moreover, Jarrett’s intense fixation on his domineering mother clearly resonated, since Fassbinder was fascinated by the politics of family life.


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