Warner Brothers always seemed to have the lead in gangster films, just as MGM was always associated with the best musicals. Their go to stars included Edward G Robinson and James Cagney.
Cagney is an interesting character. He was still making films into the 1980s. By all accounts, he preferred doing musicals to gangster films.
But one film in particular is a favourite here, “White Heat”.
The film comes from 1949, so we are saying relatively (!) modern. Cagney looks a little older.
The story concerns gangster Cody Jarrett (Cody is a nickname, I think) who has a wife but basically literally loves his mother. His ma does everything to help him, but when Jarrett learns that his mother has been shot and is dead, he goes crazy in the prison.
It’s a very memorable scene. Cody Jarrett is a complex character, he has something called homicidal psychosis. He escapes, plans a job at a chemical plant whch goes wrong and the plant blows up. At the end he shouts “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”.
Sorry, spoiler alert.
There are some very memorable scenes in this film. It is often quoted and may be one of Cagney’s best roles. You’re never quite sure what he will do next.