I saw Yankee Doodle Dandy once when I was in high school, and I really didn’t remember much about it, except that James Cagney had a really interesting way of dancing, and that the music is great. So I was pretty excited to watch it again after so many years. But my feelings are mixed for this one.
Yankee Doodle Dandy is an old movie, first being released in 1942. Even so, I was a bit shocked when briefly some of the actors are shown performing in blackface. It was such a short scene, but nonetheless, I was uncomfortable with that. It happened right at the beginning, and I couldn’t quite forget it. Again, I know that this is an old movie, and that sort of thing was done back then, but it still made me cringe and took me out of the movie.
I also found bits of the story to be kind of boring. I definitely felt like this movie was a little on the long side. Certain parts of the story just dragged for me, and I would get impatient for things to pick up again.
I did absolutely love the music, though! It’s so catchy and it gets stuck in your head for days (which I did not mind at all)! Coincidentally, there was a wind quintet performance at the library where I work right before I watched this movie, and they played some of the music from Yankee Doodle Dandy, and I loved that. Seriously, the music is just wonderful. My favorite is, naturally, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” but I also love “Give My Regards to Broadway.”
I also really enjoyed the dance numbers, particularly when James Cagney was dancing. It was such a fun dance style that I couldn’t help but enjoy. There are a few funny scenes that I particularly liked as well. When George was looking for funding to produce his plays, all the investors made comments on spending their wives’ money, and I thought that was hilarious.
But, as I mentioned, I found this movie to be too long, even boring in parts, and somewhat offensive towards the beginning with the use of blackface. So, do I love this movie? No. I would definitely place this towards the very bottom of AFI’s Top Movie Musical List (It’s ranked as number 18). I understand why people like this movie, and even why it’s on this list. But personally, it just isn’t for me.