James cagney classics-DVD-Genius-AMC
LL | boston, ma | 03/10/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"i am a big cagney fan, and i am accustomed to AMC playing quality prints of classic movies, so you can understand my disappointment in seeing these poor quality transfers, especially since it says "digitally remastered" on the front cover. save your money and hopefully a remastered set of cagney movies will appear soon."
Forget Maltin's review
Thug's Ma | Indiana | 11/23/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you appreciate James Cagney for the quality and spunk of his dancing, this film is for you!Sure, the plot is nothing to sing about, but this film is to be watched for Cagney alone.He has several hilarious episodes as he enters Hollywood as a small time bandleader from NY. He is measured, analyzed and critiqued by a voice coach, hair dresser and tailor, and his reactions to all the poking and prodding show him as one of the underrated but awesome comedic actors. (Anyone who doesn't recognize Cagney as a great comedic actor hasn't seen enough of his films.)Another great scene is when he does some great Vaudevillian slapstick facial pantomimes of "the take, the double take, and the double take with the fade-away."Now the dancing! Cagney, who always billed himself as a song and dance man, never danced enough in his movies. But this has four great scenes of him him at his best -- a combination of down-to-earth hoofing and ballet. He does one scene with Johnny Boyle and Harland Dixon, the former who danced for George M. Cohan and helped Cag choreograph dancing sequences for "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Much of Cagney's dancing style is taken from Boyle.No one could say that Cagney is the greatest dancer, but he injected a street attitude into his dancing along with exquisite grace that made him incomparable. A must see!"
One Star for the Quality not the Movies
Erik Wegner | 06/12/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"These are some more great Cagney films as always, but I do not suggest purchasing this version since they look terrible. It seems like they have recorded the original negatives without them being cleaned, not even VHS quality, it's best to buy them by themselves, there are much better quality copies. I've seen Blood on the Sun on VHS, then saw it in this set and was amazed at how much worse the quality was. They are great films, just get them in a different set or by themselves, trust me."
A dated movie musical, but a sure winner for Jimmy Cagney fa
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 09/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"James Cagney wanted to do more than play gangsters, and he loved dancing. Warner Brothers was having none of it so Cagney successfully got out of his contract and signed to do two films with Grand National Pictures. Something to Sing About was the first. The movie's a great look at a singing, dancing Jimmy Cagney. That it's only a so-so film is almost beside the point.
The story is amusing most of the time. It gives us several musical numbers, including two full-blown productions with Cagney. It's also takes a lot of gentle pokes at the movie business. Terry Rooney (Cagney) is a Broadway nightclub song and dance man. He's happy and ambitious. He's got his band and he has his cute, adoring fiancee, Rita (Evelyn Daws). When he's offered a chance to star in a movie, he grabs it and heads west. But the studio boss realizes Terry is a potential big star, so instructs everyone not to praise him. He doesn't want Terry to get a big head. Terry, finally fed up, finishes the movie and heads back to Rita. They marry and take a long cruise on a freighter for a honeymoon. But wait. Terry's movie is a smash. The public want more of Terry Rooney. When he and Rita return, the studio boss, Bennett O. "B.O." Regan (Gene Lockhart), and the studio's press head, Hank Meyers (William Frawley), convince Terry to sign a seven-year contract. All Terry has to do is keep secret his marriage. Rita, loving Terry, agrees and becomes his secretary. He starts a second movie as a star, but there are misunderstandings, more Hollywood press shenanigans, a co-star who wants more attention, more Hollywood columnists who want scoops about phony romances. Finally, Rita has had enough and returns to New York and the band. Terry, seeing how all the Hollywood razzmatazz is separating himself from Rita, follows her...and they reunite in a production number on the stage of the nightclub before a sell-out crowd.
The best things about this movie are Cagney, his song and dance numbers and the fairly gentle but pointed pokes at Hollywood movie making. Cagney gets two big numbers and they're a lot of fun. One opens the movie with his nightclub act, singing, dancing up and down stairs and obviously enjoying himself immensely. The second is on the freighter. He joins crew members for an evening's entertainment of tap dancing, tumbling and cross-dressing.
How do you describe Cagney's dancing? It's unique. He goes at it with great energy, stiff-legged, straight backed and with his rear out. He combines tap, some ballet moves and old-fashioned hoofing. And he's fast. Gene Lockhart does a great job as "B.O.," the studio boss, pompous and petulant, a man who sees yes-men as essential to success. Evelyn Daws plays Rita. Daws was a young singer with a trained soprano; she was a discovery of the director, Victor Schertzinger. She sounds like Jeanette MacDonald's little sister and can hit high notes that'll cause nose bleeds. Daws made one movie after this and was never heard from again. After Cagney, Philip Ahn is one of the most interesting characters in the movie. He plays Ito, Cagney's gentleman's gentleman, with ludicrous pidgin-English...until we learn he speaks better than most everyone else in the movie.
Something to Sing About is a low-voltage musical with a high-voltage star. For fans of Cagney, it's probably a must. The movie is in the public domain. The DVD version I have is from Critics Choice Video. The picture and sound are clean enough, but the picture is awfully soft and a little too light. The case says, "Digitally Restored." Based on how the picture looks, I have no idea what that could mean. There are no chapter stops. The disc contains one extra, a 10-minute patriotic short filmed in 1943 with Cagney, Ann Southern and Margaret O'Brien. We get a look at a P-38 Lightning (or it might have been a P-61 Black Widow), which was a lethal fighter. On the other hand, we also have to hear O'Brien recite the Gettysburg Address."