Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 biographical film about George M. Cohan, the actor-singer-dancer-playwright-songwriter-producer-theatre owner-director-choreographer known as "The Man Who Owns Broadway".
- Directed by Michael Curtiz. Written by Robert Buckner, Edmund Joseph, Julius J. Epstein (uncredited), and Philip G. Epstein (uncredited).
George M. CohanEdit
- I guess the first thing I ever had my fist on was the American flag. I hitched my wagon to thirty-eight stars. And thirteen stripes. You know, I was six or seven years old before I realized they weren't celebrating my birthday on the Fourth of July.
- My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.
- Note: ranked #97 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.
- It seems it always happens. Whenever we get too high-hat and too sophisticated for flag-waving, some thug nation decides we're a push-over all ready to be blackjacked. And it isn't long before we're looking up, mighty anxiously, to be sure the flag's still waving over us.
- [reading posters advertising Cohan's latest success] "Cohan and Harris present George Washington, Jr. starring the author and composer George M. Cohan."..."George M. Cohan and his royal family. Books and lyrics, music and directed by George M. Cohan. Printed by Sam Divensky". That must be Cohan's alias.
- First critic: I call it a hit. What'll your review say?
- Second critic: I like it too, so I guess I'll pan it.
- First critic: Oh. [He laughs] Well, that's logical.
- Second critic: My publisher resents Cohan impersonating the president of the United States. Says our young readers dream of being president.
- First critic: 'I'd rather be right than be president...' Cohan may find out he isn't either one.
- Erlanger: He's the most original thing that ever hit Broadway. And do you know why? Because he's the whole darn country squeezed into one pair of pants. His writing, his songs, why even his walk and his talk. They all touch something way down here in people [He gestures to his heart] Don't ask me why it is, but it happens every time the curtain goes up. It's pure magic.
- Fay Templeton: I'm bored by magic. I know his formula. A fresh young sprout gets rich between 8:30 and 11:00 pm.
- Erlanger: Yes, that's just it, Fay. George M. Cohan has invented the success story. And every American loves it because it happens to be his own private dream. He's found the mainspring in the Yankee clock - ambition, pride, and patriotism. That's why they call him the Yankee Doodle Boy. Now, if you'll take a tip from me, Fay, you'll do just what I'm doing. You'll hitch your wagon to his star right now.
- George M. Cohan: [sniffing] Mmmmm... ham or bacon?
- Mary Cohan: Bacon.
- George M. Cohan: Good. Ham makes me self-conscious.
- George M. Cohan: Thanks, Sam. It'll be great as long as those critics don't start to eat off my leg.
- Sam Harris: Oh, don't worry about the critics! You got a smash hit! It's in the air, kid! It's in the air! You can't stop anything that's in the air!
- George M. Cohan: And then came your wire. I was really worried. Well, here I am goin' on like Tennyson's Brook giving you the story of my life. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that. You should have stopped me.
- President: Why, I wanted to hear the story of your life. It has a direct bearing on my sending for you. Do you know what this is?
- George M. Cohan: The Congressional Medal of Honor.
- President: Let's see what the inscription says: 'To George M. Cohan, for his contribution to the American spirit. Over There and Grand Old Flag Presented by Act of Congress.' I congratulate you, Mr. Cohan. [He hands the medal to George] I understand you're the first person of your profession to receive this honor. You should be very proud.
- George M. Cohan: Oh, I am proud. In fact, I'm flabbergasted. First time in my life, I'm speechless. Are you sure there isn't some mistake?
- President: Quite sure.
- George M. Cohan: [modestly] But this medal is for people who've given their lives to their country or done something big. I'm just a song and dance man. Everybody knows that.
- President: A man may give his life to his country in many different ways, Mr. Cohan. And quite often he isn't the best judge of how much he has given. Your songs were a symbol of the American spirit. Over There was just as powerful a weapon as any cannon, as any battleship we had in the First World War. Today, we're all soldiers, we're all on the front. We need more songs to express America. I know you and your comrades will give them to us.
- George M. Cohan: Mr. President, I've just begun to earn this medal. It's quite a thing.
- President: Well, it's the best material we could find, what with priorities and all -
- George M. Cohan: Goodbye, sir. [They shake hands] And I want you to know that I'm not the only one that's grateful. My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I assure you, I thank you. And, uh, I wouldn't worry about this country if I were you. We've got this thing licked. Where else in the world today could a plain guy like me come in and talk things over with the head man?
- President: Well, that's about as good a definition of America as any I've ever heard. Good-bye, Mr. Cohan, and good luck.
- George M. Cohan: Good-bye sir, and good luck to you.
- [A group of soldiers is marching off to fight in World War II, singing Cohan's World War I song, "Over There"]
- Sergeant on parade: What's the matter, old timer? Don't you remember this song?
- George M. Cohan: Seems to me I do.
- Sergeant on parade: Well, I don't hear anything.
- [Cohan starts singing along, with tears coming into his eyes]
- The Yankee Doodle Dandiest Entertainment of 'em all!
- Based on the story of GEORGE M. COHAN with the Greatest of all his Great Music.
- Get ready to Laugh, to Sing, to Shout! ...For here comes Uncle Sam's Star Spangled Yankee Doodle Dandy!
- James Cagney - George M. Cohan
- Joan Leslie - Mary Cohan
- Eddie Foy - Eddie Foy
- Walter Huston - Jerry Cohan
- Richard Whorf - Sam Harris
- Irene Manning - Fay Templeton
- George Tobias - Dietz
- Rosemary DeCamp - Nellie Cohan
- Jeanne Cagney - Josie Cohan
- Frances Langford - Nora Bayes
- George Barbier - Erlanger
- S. Z. Sakall - Schwab
- Walter Catlett - Theatre Manager
- Minor Watson - Albee
- Chester Clute - Goff
- Odette Myrtil - Madame Bartholdi
- Douglas Croft - George M. Cohan, age 13
- Patsy Parsons - Josie Cohan, age 12