White Heat

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Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

White Heat is 1949 film about a psychopathic criminal with a mother complex who makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. It is considered one of the classic gangster films and was added to the National Film Registry in 2003 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress.

Directed by Raoul Walsh. Written by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts based on a story by Virginia Kellogg.
Pick up the pieces folks, Jimmy's in action again!taglines

Arthur "Cody" Jarrett

  • You know something, Verna, if I turn my back for long enough for Big Ed to put a hole in it, there'd be a hole in it. [he laughs] Big Ed ... great big Ed. Y'know why they call 'im that? 'Cause his ideas are big. One day he's gonna get a really big one ... about me. And it'll be his last.
  • You're just lonesome, lonesome, like me...Verna? All I ever had was Ma...I was, uh, I was just walkin' around out there talkin' to mine...well, my old lady never had anything, always on the run, always on the move - some life. First there was my old man, died kickin' and screamin' in a nuthouse. Then my brother. And after that, it was takin' care of me. Always tryin' to put me on top. Top of the world, she used to say. And then, times when I was losin' my grip, there she'd be right behind me, pushin' me back up again. And now...That was a good feelin' out there, talkin' to her, just me and Ma. Good feelin'. Liked it. Maybe I am nuts.
  • Come out with your hands up, the man says! How do you like THAT,MA? Here's my answer, you dirty......


Big Ed: We gotta blow outta here.
Cotton: Cody calls chargin' roadblocks 'unscientific.'
Big Ed: It ain't safe havin' a crackpot givin' orders. About time somebody took over.
Cotton: Who, for instance?
Big Ed: A very good friend of mine. Me.
Cotton: Where d'ya want the body sent?

Ma Jarrett: [about Cody's headaches] It's these mountains, Cody. It's not good for ya. Cold all the time. Can't breathe air. Let's get out, Son.
Cody: I'm all right now.
Ma Jarrett: Is it going?
Cody: Yeah.
Ma Jarrett: Are you sure?
Cody: Yeah....it's like having a red hot buzz-saw inside my head.
Ma Jarrett: [stopping him from walking out] No, not yet, Son. Don't let 'em see you like that. Might give some of 'em ideas.
Cody: [sitting in his mother's lap] You're always thinkin' about your Cody, aren't ya?
Ma Jarrett: That's right. [She rises and pours him a drink of whiskey] Top of the world, Son.
Cody: Don't know what I'd do without ya, Ma. [He downs the drink]
Ma: Better?
Cody: Oh yeah.
Ma: Now go on out. Show 'em you're all right.

Verna: Why don't ya keep it all?...Why don't ya? We could travel, buy things. That's what money's for. I'd look good in a mink coat, honey.
Cody: You'd look good in a shower curtain.

Cody: The T-men have tied him in with us on the tunnel job...I dunno how they did it. Somebody must have tipped 'em.
Verna: There's always somebody tipped 'em. Never the cops are smart.
Cody: [about his Ma leaving] We have enough food in the house for a week. What did she have to go out for?
Verna: You like strawberries, don't ya? Well, she just had to get some for her boy.
[Cody kicks her chair out from under her]

Verna: [hiding out at a drive-in movie] This is great, but where do we go after the second feature?
Cody: You're staying put. I'm the only one goin' anyplace.
Ma Jarrett: Where, Cody?
Cody: To give myself up.
Ma Jarrett: What are you talking about? You haven't a chance. Four dead - it'll be the gas chamber for sure.
Cody: You don't think I'm dumb enough to give myself up to the T-men, do ya?
Verna: What's the difference? You walk into the cops and they turn ya over.
Cody: I pulled that Springfield heist - not Scratch Morton. I'm goin' up to Illinois and take a state rap. I'll get two years at the most...I couldn't be in both places at once, could I? Little thing I cooked up before we pulled the tunnel job.
Ma Jarrett: You're the smartest there is, Cody.
Verna: Sure it's smart, but what about me? What do I do for the next two years?
Ma Jarrett: Same as ya did before he married you.
Cody: You better not, baby. I'll be back.
Verna: I'll be waiting for you, honey. You can trust me.

Fallon: You put it on a pole, wind a spool of silk thread around it, and you hold the pole over the water. Then you sit under a nice shady tree and relax. After a while, a hungry fish comes along, takes a nip at your hook, and you've got dinner. For the next two weeks, I'm not gonna think about anything except the eternal struggle between man and the fish. I've been promised a vacation. You remember?
Evans: Sorry, Hank, that's out.
Fallon: Look at me. College degree, lovable personality, and I spend most of my time in prison, an undercover specialist. Eight sentences in five years! ...Sing-Sing, Leavenworth. I joined the Department to put criminals behind bars - and here I am, stir crazy!

Fallon: A hoodlum turns himself in on a phony rap and beats the gas chamber. I'll betcha he's thumbing his nose at Uncle Sam right now and loving it. Jarrett outsmarted you!
Evans: That's just what we want him to think. We're working with the Springfield police. We arranged for the confession to check. So what happens? Jarrett does a stretch in the penitentiary - and in case he gets lonely, wants to talk to someone, we're gonna let one of our own boys do a stretch right in the same cell...You'll be one of Jarrett's cellmates. Stick with him until you find out where he unloaded three hundred thousand dollars in federal currency without a single bill showing up. Also, try to learn the identity of the very special fence that engineered this deal.
Fallon: How does he operate?
Evans: Buy stolen money here at thirty-four cents on the dollar. Peddles it on the European black market for - who knows how much. No questions asked. Sweet racket.

Evans: This job isn't gonna be like any of your others, Hank. You see, there's insanity in the Jarretts, and some of it rubbed off on Cody. His father died in an institution...When he was a kid, he used to fake headaches in order to get his mother's attention away from the rest of the family. It worked. As he grew up, the fancied headaches became real, until now they tear him to pieces. Any minute, he's apt to crack open at the seams. And there goes our case. So you'll be workin' against time...Except that Cody's not an easy guy to get close to in a hurry. The only person he's ever cared about or trusted is his mother. No one else has ever made a dent, not even his wife. His mother's been the prop that's held him up. He's got a fierce, psychopathic devotion for her. All his life, whenever he got in a spot, he just put out his hand and there was Ma Jarrett. Without her, maybe Cody'd - just like his old man.
Fallon: You mean I'm supposed to take Mama's place?
Evans: You can never tell. He might need someone.
Fallon: I'll practice up on my lullabies.

Ma Jarrett: I'm the one to tell ya. It's Big Ed and Verna. They run out. It's my fault, Cody. I let you down. I said I'd take care of things. But I let you down. I saw it comin'. I didn't think he'd have the guts.
Cody: Forget it, Ma, forget it. It was in the cards for Big Ed to make his try.
Ma Jarrett: Don't you care?
Cody: Sure. What's mine is mine. I ain't gonna have it make me sick. I'll take care of 'em when I get out.
Ma Jarrett: That's what I told myself. And I'll help ya Cody, like always. You'll be out soon, back on top of the world.

Parker: You got me wrong, Cody. I got nothin' against you. It was Big Ed. He told me to do it. You wouldn't kill me in cold blood, would ya?
Cody: No, I'll let ya warm up a little.

Big Ed: Now take it easy, baby. We're ready for him when he comes.
Verna: I can't stand another night, Ed, listenin', goin' crazy. It ain't just like waitin' for some human being who wants to kill ya. Cody ain't human. Fill him full of lead and he'll still come at ya.
Big Ed: Plug him and he drops, same as anybody else.
Verna: The boys didn't think so. Why did they beat it down to San Berdoo?
Big Ed: Because they know this is between me and Cody. They'll be back when it's over.
Verna: You'll be dead.
Big Ed: Maybe so. The time comes when a man's gotta stop runnin' away and face things. Or else go on runnin' for good.
Verna: All right! Throw your life away! Stay here and shoot it out. Me? I'm goin'. I wanta live.
Big Ed: Cody might have some ideas about that.
Verna: I'll go someplace he'll never find me.
Big Ed: The world ain't big enough, sugar, not when he finds out what you did to his Ma.
Verna: You'd tell him?
Big Ed: If you run out on me, why not?
Verna: But I only did it for you, Ed. She had you covered.
Big Ed: Cody still ain't gonna like to hear that she got it in the back. Feel more like stayin' now?

CODY:"You BOUGHT a gas truck?? What's the matter,forget how to steal one?"

Verna: Cody, my radio won't work.
Cody: Whuddya want for it, unemployment insurance?
Verna: Can't I go down to San Berdoo and get it fixed?
Cody: Nobody leaves here unless I say so. Now you... [terrified, she flinches and recoils as he gestures toward her face] - whatsa matter, baby? I'm not gonna hurt ya. [He kisses her] Go and read your comic books. Good girl.

Creel: Hey Cody, that guy's a copper.
Cody: What?
Creel: He's a T-man. I know him. His name is Fallon.
Cody: Are you sure?
Creel: Yeah. He pinched me four years ago.
Fallon: [pointing a shotgun at the men] Don't go for your guns.
Cody: A copper! A copper! How d'ya like that, boys? A copper. And his name is Fallon. [He begins to laugh hysterically] And we went for it. I went for it. Treated him like a kid brother. And I was gonna split fifty-fifty with a copper. Maybe they're waitin' to pin a medal on him.
Fallon: Solid gold. Come on, get up, get your hands up.
Cody: Yeah, that's it. A nice gold medal for the copper. Only maybe he's gonna get it sooner than he thinks.

Evans: Cody Jarrett.
Fallon: He finally got to the top of the world. And it blew right up in his face.




  • Pick up the pieces folks, Jimmy's in action again!
  • Searing the screen like the death-blast of a sub-machine gun!!!
  • JAMES CAGNEY in His New Warner Bros. Hit
  • JAMES CAGNEY is red hot in "WHITE HEAT"
  • His New Hit from Warner Bros.
  • New hit! - New heights!
  • JAMES CAGNEY in his new Warner hit "White Heat"
  • A Warner Bros. Smash Hit!
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