In a nutshell:
Chicago, 1920ies. Martin “Marty –the Gimp” Snyder (James Cagney) is a big shot in – not so clean – laundry business. He knows what he wants – and he wants ex-taxi-dancer Ruth Etting (Doris Day). Ruth knows what she wants, too: She wants a career as a singer – a real big number. In this case Marty is a great help: he gets her a job as a singer, starts her radio career, puts her into the Ziegfeld Follies and brings her Hollywood to star in the movies. And then there is Johnny (Cameron Mitchell), a pianist, who was interested in Ruth. Now he is a Hollywood conductor - and Ruth is going to work with him. What will Marty do about that?
- James Cagney asked for Doris Day to do the female lead in this film - they had worked together previously on WESTPOINT STORY (1950). LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME is the only film he - as a star - accepted second billing - he thought Ruth Etting was the central character in this film and Doris Day should be payed with a top billing for her work - and he sure was right about that.
- Ruth Etting wanted Jane Powell to be in the female lead - but the studio didn't to put cute Miss Powell into a Nightclub scenery..
- You may know Harry Bellaver (Georgie) as Det. Frank Acaro from TV-series NAKED CITY (1958-63) or from ANOTHER THIN MAN (1939) from THE THIN MAN SERIES where he played "Creeps" Binder - you may remember the baby party? Sometimes I get the feeling that you could relate almost any classic film to one of the THIN MAN SERIES.. ;")
- Jane Russell was asked to do the Ruth Etting character - but she refused.
- Veda Ann Borg has an uncredited appearance as dance hall hostess.
- Doris Day wrote later that she first did not want to take this role, because of it's vulgarity. After the film-release she received many fan letters which were not so polite about her playing such a dislikeable person. She answered every letter herself and declared that there was an difference between herself and her roles. In my opinion it is commandable that she did that.
- The German titles for this film are NACHTCLUB-AFFÄREN (lit.: "Nightclub affairs") and TYRANNISCHE LIEBE (lit. "Tyrannic Love").
- MGM's favoured Ava Gardner to play Doris Day's part - but she refused, accordingly because she did not want to be dubbed again.
- Ruth Etting later stated that she never worked as a taxi-dancer.
- James Cagney said that this film would be - out of all his films - in his top five.
- According to Doris Day most of the more violent scenes between James Cangey and her were cut out.
Scene to see:
Every scene between Doris Day and James Cagney is most exquisite but to choose one: The fighting scene after the Ziegfeld show which ends in a (faded out) rape. Doris Day and James Cagney did brilliant fight scenes!!
See the beauty in it:
The blue dress Doris Day changes in after her first Ziegfeld number – the colour is amazing!
- The clothes and cars aren’t always true to the era.
- The Ziegfeld Follies NEVER billed any performers name over the show title.
Sing a song:
My favourite song is “10 cents a dance” – but there are several very good songs in this movie, like: “Shakin’ the blues away”, "Stay on the right sight, sister" and many more.
Here you have the real Ruth Etting singing for you:
“I’m what make you tick. Don’t you ever forget that!”
This film contains two of my all-time favourite actors: Doris Day (who I also appreciate as a truly gifted singer) and James Cagney. In my opinion Doris Day is a marvelous actress who is at her best when she gets the chance to act in a more dramatic role. James Cagney is indeed doing a thing that he was always good in: the gangster. I am feeling somewhat sorry for Marty who has the saddest part in this film’s trio. Though as a teenager I was fallen for Uncle Buck of HIGH CHAPARELL and I do like Cameron Mitchell – I think it wouldn’t have hurt the film when he was changed against any other young handsome actor. I don’t have a candidate for that on hand but I have not the feeling that he is putting something extremely special into this role – but to be fair: that would have been an enormous task to any actor opposite these two stars. ;”)
“You can put it down that I got the greatest respect for Miss Etting as an artist.”
The End? Wait and watch.
Yours (well and) truly