James Cagney never said, "Mmm, you dirty rat." He quit Warner Brothers because he was tired of playing Hollywood tough guys. While he could be scrappy when he had to be, James Cagney was actually a softie with a spine of steel.
It's all here in Cagney, a sketchy song-and-dance bio-musical currently making its the New York premier at the the York Theater. Librettist Peter Colley does not present a deep character study, but Cagney wins as an entertaining mix of toe-tapping with rat-tat-tat staccato speech of one of the most successful actors in film.