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LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME- An unappreciated gem!


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#1 of 25 OFFLINE   Roger Rollins

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Posted April 24 2005 - 06:56 AM

In its day, it was a huge box-office hit.... It won an Oscar for best original screenplay... It earned several Oscar nominations, including James Cagney for BEST ACTOR (he should have won over Ernest Borgnine in MARTY (snooze!) )...and should have earned a Best Actress nod for Miss Doris Day... Yet, it seems people have forgotten about this magnificent film. Although the new Doris Day boxed set and single releases do not get released until Tuesday, a friend of mine with worthwhile connections (a/k/a 'reviewer') had the DVD and invited several lucky souls (including myself) to a screening in his impressive home theater last evening. This film is truly magnificent. It is not a "musical" per se...no one bursts out singing to comment on or move the narrative. It is a drama, with musical sequences, happily, many of them, which show off Miss Day's peerless vocal technique to the max. This was her first post-WB contract film, and she was ready to show the world that she was more than just the girl next door. The transfer is impeccable. Eastmancolor films from 1955 usually (even with the most care) look brown and grimy...not this one. WB has once again brought a fresh look to a film that's a mere 50 years old. The soundtrack in 5.0, is also astounding. You'd swear Doris was in the room with you. For people who love Doris Day or James Cagney, this is an essential DVD, and frankly, all the films in the WB DORIS DAY boxed set are worth owning which is why I pre-ordered with Amazon long ago! However, if you don't really know Doris Day, or think of her only in terms of those insipid post-PILLOW TALK insipid sex comedies, you're in for a shock. She's brilliant. As for Cagney, when was he ever not brilliant? The letterboxed laserdisc of this film back in 1990 or so, was quite impressive for its day. This DVD improves upon that, carrying over the special features, a Ruth Etting Vitaphone short and MGM's 1955 Notion Picture Celebration featurette (remastered in glowing 16x9), and adding another Etting Vitaphone short. Don't pass up this DVD, it's Hollywood magic at its finest, or even better, go for the wholr WB box, it's a real bargain, and every film inside is terrific. I can't wait to see the rest of them. Hopefully, my own box will arrive soon.

#2 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 24 2005 - 07:08 AM

Well, it's not unappreciated by me. I made my comments about the dvd earlier in this thread. As far as Cagney's performance versus Borgnine, I think Cagney was hurt by "Love me or Leave Me" not being nominated in both Best Picture or Director categories while "Marty" won both awards. IMO, Cagney was robbed in 1938, when Tracy won for "Boys Town". As far as Day's performance being nominated, you can make a good case for it or against it, if you take another look at those that were nominated that year.







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#3 of 25 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted April 24 2005 - 07:15 AM

And plenty of appreciation here; though I don't intend to get the Doris Day box set, I'm looking forward immensely to this and Young Man With a Horn.
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#4 of 25 OFFLINE   Roger Rollins

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Posted April 24 2005 - 07:30 AM

I also have to put in a good word for "JUMBO" (or as it has to legally be called "BILLY ROSE'S JUMBO")...... It was the last attempt at a grand MGM musical.... It is not a great film. It has flaws, especially the fact that they didn't know how to end the picture...and the choices they made were....(and this is coming from an MGM musical fan)...bad... But here is the last film orchestrated by the peerless Conrad Salinger Here is the last film featuring the work of Busby Berkeley All four leads (DORIS DAY, STEPHEN BOYD, JIMMY DURANTE, and MARTHA RAYE) are exceptionally good. The direction by Charles Walters is polished. The screenplay by Sidney Sheldon is quite good too, considering he was working with a stage musical that was already almost 30 years old by the time it was filmed... The circus performers are top notch ..and the Rodgers and Hart songs are all perfection, brilliantly staged and sung, and impeccably orchestrated. I haven't seen the transfer yet (obviously) but I assume it's up to Warner Bros. peerless standards. This will be the first title I watch when I get the boxed set, although I may succumb to the guilty pleasure of LULLABY OF BROADWAY. It's a silly screenplay that is vindicated by an outstading score, great singing and dancing, and charming comic support from S.Z. Sakall and Billy DeWolfe....and scoring by Ray Heindorf that will give any true fan of musicals goosebumps..... ....and kudos to WB again for such an exciting release. One can only home for more of Ms. Day's wonderful films......

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted April 24 2005 - 07:46 AM

I am curious to see how the upcoming big screen version of the Ruth Etting/Marty Snyder story compares to Love Me or Leave Me.

#6 of 25 OFFLINE   Joe Caps

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Posted April 24 2005 - 09:27 AM

Jumbo has also a great dubber - Jimmy Joyce - for stephen Boyd. It sounds like it IS Boyd. Can,t wait to hear the restored Overture - never knew it had one. The film does end badly with a number - Stawdust, spangles, and Dreams - that goes on forever.

#7 of 25 OFFLINE   Roger Rollins

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Posted April 24 2005 - 09:42 AM

Stephen Boyd did attempt to record "THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD", but in the end the producers caved to a more solid voice...Too bad, for as I am told Stephen tried really hard to do well.

Another interesting note is that Jimmy Joyce (for Boyd) recorded the prologue music in several different languages, to establish the milieu in native tounges, while, as with most musicals up til that time, the balance of songs were in English with subtitles.

Can you imagine what they would do to a remake of this?

I can see it now:

BEYONCE and 50 CENT in LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME

Posted Image Posted Image

Don't laugh. Such a travesty could happen in this twisted world!

#8 of 25 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted April 24 2005 - 09:50 AM

Roger- Jumbo looked absolutely wonderful when I watched some of it last night - it was getting late and I started falling asleep!( Not because of the movie itself ) This was on a 2:35 108" screen so that should give you an idea. Nice and sharp with great colors. The audio itself added greatly to the film in its 5.1 mix.

#9 of 25 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted April 24 2005 - 10:49 AM

Jumbo is a great transfer. And, I, too, don't really understand the need to call Love Me or Leave Me "unappreciated". Perhaps unknown to some of today's generation, but, as Roger stated, huge hit, and has always had a loyal following.

#10 of 25 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted April 24 2005 - 11:17 AM

I thought I could mention it here since we are more or less discussing some of the films included in the box set that one of the featurettes on The Glass Bottom Boat - " NASA " was, for me, more interesting than the other two on the disc as it was nice to have Doris Day herself introduce and talk about the filming at NASA. Not very long but a great piece of what once was. After watching Please Don't Eat The Daisies I realised just how well Doris and David Niven worked together - he was a great actor with a wonderful manner - sorely missed.

#11 of 25 OFFLINE   Roger Rollins

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Posted April 24 2005 - 11:29 AM

I agree that film afficianados know that LMOLM is a great film, but you hardly ever see it written about anywhere. Hopefully this DVD availability will change that. I just hope that those who don't partucularly care for "musicals" (which sadly, is more often the case than not, these days), will not dismiss this film, and give it a chance. It is one of Cagney's finest performances, and he got the role at Doris Day's insistance, she having admired him very much, especially when they worked together in the much-less-great
THE WEST POINT STORY at WB 5 years earlierPosted Image

#12 of 25 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted April 24 2005 - 12:23 PM

Actually, everything I've read always said that it was the opposite. Cagney was attached to the project first, and told Joe Pasternak to pursue Doris for Ruth. Boy I can't wait until Tueday. I am sooo jealous of all you "early birds"!

#13 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 24 2005 - 03:31 PM

I read that Ava Gardner was assigned to the film first in 1954, and when she refused the role, MGM suspended her. Years later, she was asked about her refusal and she stated she was " afraid it would be just another standard muscial biography". Also, both Bogart and Richard Widmark were under consideration for Snyder. Anyhow, it was best the roles were given to both Day and Cagney.

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#14 of 25 OFFLINE   GerardoHP

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Posted April 24 2005 - 06:19 PM

Also, before her drug days, Whitney Houston. Now, why couldn't they remake this great story using today's stars, even if it wasn't about Ruth Etting per se? After all, the Cagney-Day version was only remotely inspired by the true story, and LMOLM is a timeless tale of blurred morals with the "good" girl using a "bad" guy to climb up the ladder of success. This is one movie I'd love them to remake.
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#15 of 25 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted April 25 2005 - 10:45 AM

The overture is the same music as what it under the credits. You hear that music twice in a row.

#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Doug Bull

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Posted April 25 2005 - 02:15 PM

Only the unfunny clown routine makes the Finale too long, as for the song and the singing, well that could go on forever as far as I'm concerned. I think that "Little Boy Blue" was the last song that Conrad Salinger Orchestrated before his sad and tragic suicide. Did he foresee the end of the Musical as we know it? On December 13th 1962, my then future Wife and I saw JUMBO at an old and glorious MGM Picture Palace (METRO Bourke Street) here in Melbourne. I remember that I was very surprised that it was in spectacular Stereo.(Stereo was starting to be phased out around this time) It was a wonderful experience. I wrote in my diary at the time... "A welcome return to those great MGM Musicals that have been sadly missing now for several years. This one is every bit as colorful and spectacular as those of 10 years go. a truly refreshing and highly enjoyable Motion picture". Sadly that marvelous viewing experience is now but just a memory, but hey, cheer up, the DVD is on it's way. Whom would have thought back then, that one day...

#17 of 25 OFFLINE   RyanZ

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Posted April 25 2005 - 04:49 PM

Jane Russell was offered the role of Ruth Etting in Love Me Or Leave Me. However, she desperately wanted the role of Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow, so she turned down the role, and it went to Doris Day. Then she lost I'll Cry Tomorrow to Susan Hayward. Tough luck!

#18 of 25 OFFLINE   ChrisPearson

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Posted April 25 2005 - 11:26 PM


Is this true? IMDB states cause of death as "heart attack [while sleeping]".

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   Joe Caps

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Posted April 26 2005 - 01:19 AM

I think the story about the suicde was in Hugh Fordins book about the Freed Unit. I wonder if Doris mentions it in her book.

#20 of 25 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted April 26 2005 - 01:25 AM

No. She doesn't mention it at all.




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