Norman Bates had nothing on Cody Jarrett. When it comes to love for his mother, Cody (James Cagney) and Ma (Margaret Wycherly) are as thick as thieves... which they are all well. The Jarrett gang is a merciless group led by the unflinchingly evil Cody. Even when Cody is in jail -- as he is for half the film -- he's still running the gang without missing a beat.
Cagney had been out of the gangster scene for nearly a decade, but he made his triumphant return to the genre here in one of his most memorable roles ever. It's got little to do with the plot, however. Cody's gang plans a big heist, while an undercover cop infiltrates his gang in prison, after saving Cody from an assassination attempt. Finally, once Cody is out and the heist is underway, the "copper" betrayal is revealed, and things go south as the cops close in (very slowly -- during a 15-minute sequence with the cops using directional radios to locate the car they're driving -- it must've been a crazy high-tech idea at the time, but the rotating antennae and map plotting come off as tediously dull today).
Continue reading: White Heat Review