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Michael CurtizA Life in Film$
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Alan K. Rode

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813173917

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813173917.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The “Pinochle” of His Career

The “Pinochle” of His Career

(p.292) 23 The “Pinochle” of His Career
Michael Curtiz

Alan K. Rode

University Press of Kentucky

After an initial account of Captains of the Clouds, this chapter provides a detailed description about the making of Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).The legendary show business powerhouse George M. Cohan agreed to let Warner Bros. produce an idealized musical film of his life, but he had to be convinced to inject any type of drama into the screenplay. James Cagney had returned to the studio in 1938 with greatly increased power. With some misgivings, Cagney accepted the Cohan role in Yankee Doodle Dandy (partially for political reasons) and worked seamlessly with Curtiz to create a memorable film.First-person accounts by Joan Leslie and Rosemary DeCamp enliven the depiction of a synergistic production led by a dedicated Curtiz.Behind the scenes, the intermittent wrangling that pitted Cagney and his brother William (who was associate producer) against the screenwriter Robert Buckner, Jack Warner, and Wallis ended when Cagney gave notice that he was vacating his Warner contract after the picture was finished. Yankee Doodle Dandy was a humongous hit for the studio and Curtiz, who considered it the “pinochle” of his career.

Keywords:   Captains of the Clouds, James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy, William Cagney, George M. Cohan, Robert Buckner, Julius and Philip Epstein, Joan Leslie, Rosemary DeCamp, S. Z. Sakall

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