Jimmy the Gent, prince and democrat

I forget who wrote that ‘Cagney displaces air’. But he does. He’s got such kinetic energy that one is constantly riveted by his movement. And also he’s an old vaudevillian: every gesture is made to evoke character but also to please an audience, to get a laugh, or a reaction. And most of all, Cagney in the thirties, is the great working class hero, the man of and for the people. There’s been no one like him since in gesture or indeed. The clip above from Jimmy the Gent gives a hint as to why.

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