Thursday, July 6, 2017

George M. Cohan's movies

Independence Day wouldn't be the same without Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).  Fortunately, Turner Classic Movies seems to agree.  James Cagney might well be inextricably linked to George M. Cohan, to the extent that Cohan's career in theatre far outstrips his handful of film appearances.  Cohan did, however, make a few movies.

His first, Broadway Jones (1917) transferred his stage persona to screen, though a silent film is obviously not the best showcase for a musical star.  It was based on his stage show and filmed by his own company, Cohan Feature Films Company.

His play Seven Keys to Baldpate (1917) was his next try at films.  Hedda Hopper was his co-star.  This and his next film were produced by Famous Players.  That was Hit-the-Trail Holliday (1918), a comedy about a temperance crusade --  before Prohibition.

The Phantom President (1932) is interesting for its election year subject, and especially that his co-star was Claudette Colbert and Jimmy Durante.  This was produced by Paramount.  Have a look at a clip here.

Gambling (1934) was George M.'s last movie, for Fox this time.  Films were not his forte -- like some stage actors, he preferred the live audience reaction -- but his prodigious theatre career is remembered mainly by Cagney's movie about him. 

photo by JT Lynch

The statue on Broadway is, like Cohan himself, larger than life.
photo by JT Lynch


Caftan Woman said...

Fascinating fellow. Interesting post. The Phantom President is the only one of the films I have seen. How I would have loved to have seen Cohan on stage in Ah, Wilderness!

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

I still can't believe he appeared with Claudette Colbert in THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT. It would be something to see films of his stage performances, at least.

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