The first authorized release of its entire score! All the famous performances by Cagney and the cast ( Yankee Doodle Boy; You're a Grand Old Flag; Give My Regards to Broadway; Over There , etc.) are here plus unissued demos, alternates and outtakes. A shining salute!
When one thinks of musicals from Hollywood's golden age, the initials MGM
come almost instantly to mind. Indeed when veteran song-and-dance man George M. Cohan was negotiating a film based on his colorful life story, his first choice was Metro--until a falling out with studio chief Louis B. Mayer. But L.B.'s loss eventually became Warner Brothers'--and film history's--gain when the Burbank studio's Cohan musical became a massive, patriotic hit in the opening months of World War II. As chronicled in this vibrantly restored, first-ever complete soundtrack for the film, it was a compelling twist of fate. James Cagney turns in one of the screen's most ostensibly unlikely--and ultimately indelible--musical performances (netting him his only Best Actor Oscar®
), teaming with studio music director Roy Heindorf to update Cohan's once-quaint turn-of the-century patriotic ditties ("You're a Grand Old Flag," "Over There," "Yankee Doodle Boy") and infectious vaudevillian chestnuts ("Give My Regards to Broadway," "Harrigan") with bracing dollops of the studio's '40s orchestral sass--and, just months after Pearl Harbor, some crucial historical parallels. Also included are four bonus tracks that remarkably survived the film's preproduction, including an outtake of "You Remind Me of My Mother" and voice-and-piano-only rehearsal versions of "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "You're a Grand Old Flag" that further underscore Cagney's deceptively effortless ability to sell a song despite his limited musical gifts. It's a long overdue showcase for a true American film musical gem. --Jerry McCulley