GEORGE M. COHAN WAS A VERY SMART MAN

You probably have no idea who George M. Cohan (1878-1942) was, but he remains one of the greatest talents ever to appear in show business.  Don’t just rely on the Wikipedia entry for background on his life and career.  Check out Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942; Michael Curtiz\James Wong Howe, ASC) to see James Cagney’s portrayal of his legend and to absorb a little of what makes him so memorable.

As the most successful entertainer of his day, Cohan inevitably had his encounters with Hollywood.  Apparently they didn’t go too well.  When he returned to his real home on Broadway, he let his feelings be known, unsalted.  Pay special attention to the last line in which he makes the most amusing observation.

“My Hollywood experience was the most miserable and unhappy time I’ve ever had, and I don’t see how I lived through it.  I wouldn’t go back, even if they offered me the Rockefeller fortune.  Hollywood represents the most amazing exhibition of incompetence and ego to be found anywhere.  Executives and supervisors know nothing ‑ nothing ‑ about making pictures, and the only people with any sense at all about what they’re doing are the cameramen and their crews.”

            He was an interesting guy, to say the least.  And very, very perceptive!  If his sentiments were true at the time he expressed them, I’ll let you be the judge of how well they hold up today.

2.2.2021

3 thoughts on “GEORGE M. COHAN WAS A VERY SMART MAN”

  1. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” Is one of those movies I find impossible to pass by … I have likely seen it a dozen times, and I enjoy and marvel at it every single time. From the story, to the acting, directing, editing, music, and cinematography, it is wholly engaging ….

  2. I’m very familiar with Gorge M Cohan and James Cagney’s wonderful portrayal. Great story, songs and dance numbers. Grew up watching these great vintage films thanks to television broadcasting these classics to fill there programming. The beginning of my love of film and film making.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.