Sat, Jan 25, 11:40am: Introduction from Christopher Weedman, assistant professor of film and pop culture studies at Middle Tennessee State University. BUY TICKETS
Maladjusted gang leader Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) is prone to bouts of homicidal psychosis. His unchecked delinquency is only matched by the strength of the blinding headaches and semi-epileptic seizures that incapacitate him. He’s historically relied on his beloved mother Ma Jarrett to make everything better, which only highlights wife Verna’s (Virginia Mayo) womanly inadequacies and inability to distract Cody from a near incestuous attachment to his mother. Cody’s right-hand man Big Ed (Steve Cochran) is restless and angling for the gang’s leadership while nursing designs on Cody’s wife Verna. When a job goes south, Cody manages to dodge murder charges and serves time for a lesser crime. In prison, he’s befriended by ‘Vic Pardo’—the alias of undercover police detective Hank Fallon—and with Vic’s help, he plots a seemingly perfect heist, determined to make it to the top of the world.
“Ahead of its time by gravitating itself around the often shocking psychological makeup of Cagney’s role… For all the violence and anguish, there's also a dark undercurrent of comedy.” —Brian Eggert, Deep Focus Review “Anticipated the heist films of the early ‘50s—John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950), and Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING (1956)—and accentuated the semi-documentary style of films of the period NAKED CITY (1948).” —filmsite.org
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