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Katharine Hilliard, mousy dean of a stuffy music school, meets and is insulted by swing band leader Barry Clayton on a train. To "show" him she takes a friend's advice, removes her glasses, and puts on a designer gown. Naturally, she becomes gorgeous. Soon, both Barry and crooner Jimmy Hale are after her, and she finds herself in the midst of triangles and misunderstandings. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Do You Love Me?" is a 1946 musical from Fox and has the trademark vivid colors they used particularly in musicals - there was never a chance of mistaking them for MGM films.
Maureen O'Hara, whom we just lost this year, plays Katharine Hilliard, the dean of a music school, and a woman from a long line of classical musicians. She goes to New York by train for a business meeting. There's no room to sit on the train, so a bandleader, Barry Clayton (Harry James) offers her a seat in his car. First she has to sit there and listen to their swing music, and when asked, she admits she doesn't like it. Apparently Clayton had a bet with someone that he could win any woman over with that particular song, and it's evident he lost.
Clayton snorts and says, none too kindly, that the specimen in front of him could hardly be called a woman. If a mosquito bit her, it would get pneumonia. When asked if men ever whistled at her, Katharine has to admit that they didn't.
Good and depressed, she arrives in New York and asks a friend, Herbert (Reginald Gardner) what's wrong with her. Given that it's Maureen O'Hara with glasses, her hair in a bun, and in a suit, we know what's about to happen.
Taking his advice, she has a complete makeover and that night, goes to where the band is playing, the El Sudan. When the cab driver tells her she can't get in without an escort, she approaches a man (Dick Haymes) staring longingly into a restaurant. He agrees to accompany her. When they arrive, she finds out that he is a singer and a friend of Clayton's.
Soon both men are in love with her, and she has a fiancé back home.
Lots and lots of music, serving as a showcase for Dick Haymes, who succeeded Frank Sinatra as Tommy Dorsey's singer. Haymes had a smooth, rich voice, and though attractive, his six marriages, financial problems, and alcoholism pretty much finished him off. He sings beautifully here: the title song, "I Didn't Believe A Word I Said," "Moonlight Propaganda," "As if I Didn't Have Enough On My Mind," and "The More I See You."
Maureen O'Hara was made for color; she's beautiful, with the right combination of seriousness and lightness.
This is a good musical, with a fun jitterbug-type dance number toward the end. It's mostly music, and the music is good, with a wonderful number that goes from classical to swing at the end. You can't go wrong.
Watch for Mrs. James (Betty Grable) calling out to "Harry" at the end.
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