Song of the Day #4,437: ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ – James Cagney

Continuing my personal ranking of the 25 movie musicals deemed essential by the American Film Institute…

#16. Yankee Doodle Dandy – 1942
(#18 on the AFI list)

I’ve gotten the most joy out of watching the older movies on AFI’s list of essential musicals. Though I didn’t plan it this way, I’ll feature six of the seven movies released before 1950 over the next six days, and every one is a treasure.

Yankee Doodle Dandy is the first James Cagney film I’ve ever seen. Prior to this, my exposure to his work was limited to the reenactment of Public Enemy staged at Disney World’s Great Movie Ride. I thought of him as an old-timey gangster, and indeed he was typecast in those roles early in his career.

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