Sunday, July 2, 2023

Down the Rabbit Hole with Cagney's Coat: This is when you know you've got a problem

So, during covid I decided to indulge my obsession with James Cagney and watch all of his films - in order, mind you. And I did. And I liked it.

However, when you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to notice things. Things like clothes, for instance.

I kept seeing this coat over and over - in film and in real life photos I happened to come across going down the movie rabbit holes we movie maniacs know all too well.

My conclusion:

a) I need to get a life (which is a whole 'nother story), and

b) Cagney must have really liked that coat.

If ever a garment deserved billing, it is what shall now simply be referred to as "the coat."

If this photo was taken during the filming of "Smart Money," the only time Cagney and Edward G. Robinson appeared on screen together, then this would have been taken in 1931 and, so far, would be the earliest sighting of the coat.

This photo of Cagney and the missus was dated 1936, so this would make the coat at least 5 years old. Apparently, the coat did on and off screen duty. I've kept coats for 5 years, so not feeling too strange....yet.

1938 appears to have been a good year for the coat. First up, "Boy Meets Girl." The coat is prominently worn. 

The coat then has a cameo in "Angels With Dirty Faces," also 1938. Cagney doesn't wear it, but it is draped over a chair and searched by the cops when they enter Rocky Sullivan's room. The coat is now 7.

All right. Now it's getting weird. The coat has a major role in 1949's "White Heat." Coming out of retirement, the coat is now at least 18.  I'm not sure what that means in "coat years."

The coat's last appearance (as far as I can find) is in this candid shot during the 1955 filming of "Love Me or Leave Me." Assuming there was not a role for the coat on screen, Cagney trotted the 24 year old war horse out for a photo shoot. The old boy can now vote, drink and get married.
So, let's hear it for the coat, winner of the most durable piece of outerwear in cinema history. But honestly, Cagney, was this your lucky coat or something? I'd love to know.


Hamlette (Rachel) said...

Well, I have a great fondness for coats, and I have one that I bought 25 years ago as a teen. I still wear it from time to time -- it's suede and getting a little shiny along the top of the collar in back, but as long as I wear my hair down, it still looks great.

So... I relate to Cagney on this issue!

Also, that's really fun that you found so many shots of him in the coat :-D

FlickChick said...

Thank you for stopping by, Rachel. I don't know why I focused on the coat, but something about it jumped out at me (obviously at Cagney, too). Congrats on hanging on to a favored article of clothing for so long. I'm afraid I'm not that loyal.