James Cagney in the 1949 crime film "White Heat" said: "Made it Ma! Top of the world!" In the film, gang leader Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) lives for his mother. He is planning heists while having horrible headaches. During a train robbery that goes wrong, Cody shoots an investigator. Realizing Cody will never be stopped if he knows he's being pursued, authorities plant undercover agent Hank (Edmond O'Brien) in Cody's cell. When his mother dies, a distraught Cody breaks out of jail. He takes Hank along to join his gang. With Hank in communication with the police, Cody plans another payroll heist.

"White Heat" is a film that was directed by Raoul Walsh and produced by Louis F. Edelman. Besides starring James Cagney and Edmond O'Brien, it features Virginia Mayo as Verna Jarrett, Margaret Wycherly as "Ma" Jarrett, Steve Cochran as "Big Ed" Somers, and John Archer as Philip Evans. The film's screenplay was written by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and is based on 'White Heat' by Virginia Kellogg. This film is now considered to be one of the best 'gangster' movies of all time.

Several months after the movie was released in September 1949, critical reaction to the film was very positive. According to records with Warner Bros. (WB) who distributed the film, "White Heat" earned over $2,189,000 domestically and $1,294,000 US dollars in foreign revenue. In 2003, the United States Library of Congress selected "White Heat" for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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