Thursday, January 16, 2003

Daughter Kate and I watched White Heat (1949) this weekend, one of my favorite of all film noirs; the ending still gets to me every time, as does Cagney's great performance as Cody Jarrett, a robber with a distinct mother fixation. Maybe I noticed before but forgot the hint of a homosexual theme, as Jarrett seems to see in Vic, the Edmund O'Brien character, a kind of substitute for his departed ma. Those great old movies could hint at so much perversity -- such as when Jarrett takes his giggly cheap-slut girlfriend on a piggyback ride upstairs to bed, liquor bottle in tow. Considering how much we already know at that point about Jarrett's own infantilized sexuality, we can well imagine what kind of scene they had -- or you can just watch Jarrett's legitimate heir, Dennis Hopper's Frank Booth, with Isabella Rossellini over 30 years later in Blue Velvet.

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