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Living It Up (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 23 July 1954 (USA)
An unsophisticated stationmaster from provincial New Mexico fraudulently claims that he is dying in order to get an expense-paid dream tour of New York.

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Writers:

(play), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
The Mayor
...
...
Jitterbug Dancer
Sammy White ...
Sid Tomack ...
...
Dr. Emile Egelhofer
...
Dr. Lee
Raymond Greenleaf ...
Conductor
Walter Baldwin ...
Isaiah Jackson
Fay Roope ...
Man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Milicent Patrick ...
Bit (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

Pretty Wally Cooper, a reporter for the New York Chronicle convinces her editor to let her do a series of articles on Homer Flagg, a young man from New Mexico who is believed to be dying as a result of radioactive poisoning. Before she arrives out west, Homer learns from his doctor that the diagnosis was a mistake and he's perfectly healthy. That doesn't stop them from accepting Wally's offer of an all- expenses paid trip to New York. Everyone in New York takes pity on Homer, while Homer and his doctor try to keep up their pretense. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THEY'RE LAFFIN' IT UP! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 July 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der sympathische Hochstapler  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Living It Up was based on the 1953 Broadway musical Hazel Flagg , which was based on the 1937 David O. Selznick-United Artists film Nothing Sacred (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Nothing Sacred , in turn, was suggested by the short story "Letter to the Editor" by James H. Street. Nothing Sacred , which was directed by William Wellman, was written by Ben Hecht, who also wrote the book for Hazel Flagg and receives onscreen credit for Living It Up . Carole Lombard played the dying "Hazel" in the 1937 film and Fredric March portrayed "Wally." Sig Ruman played "Dr. Egelhofer" in both the 1937 and 1954 pictures. Dancer Sheree North (1933-2005), in her first significant screen role, also played the star jitterbugger in Hazel Flagg . Only three songs from the Broadway show are performed in Living It Up -"Every Street's a Boulevard in Old New York," "How Do You Speak to an Angel?" and "You're Gonna Dance with Me." A snippet of the show's song "Who Is the Bravest" is also heard in the film. HR news items add the following actors to the cast of Living It Up : Hazel Boyne, Philo McCollough, Tom Tutwiler, Jack Gaines, Jr., Stuart Holmes, Lucille Lamarr, Lou Brown, Bill Roberts, Helen Dickson, Millicent Patrick and Jane Easton. The appearance of these actors in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a 26 Apr 1954 LAT item, a special preview of the picture was held at George Air Base near Victorville, CA. As noted in a 16 Jul 1954 HR news item, the film then had a special two-day premiere in Atlantic City. Modern sources claim that, at Jerry Lewis' behest, the film was screened in Jun 1954 at the Brown Hotel, where Lewis had performed as a teenager, at Loch Sheldrake in the Catskill Mountains. The picture was re-released in Sep 1965. (AFI) See more »

Quotes

Homer Flagg: Oh, I'm feelin' much better this morning. I heard a bird sing.
Dr. Steve Harris: Yeah, I heard the same bird sing, Homer, - SING SING!
Homer Flagg: Wha - ho - unh! The fever's coming back!
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

How Do You Speak to an Angel?
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Bob Hilliard
Sung by Dean Martin
See more »

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User Reviews

Finest film of Martin and Lewis
11 May 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1937, William Wellman directed a classic screenplay by Ben Hecht called "Nothing Sacred". This film has become a screwball comedy classic. Doctor Charles Winninger wrongly diagnoses patient Carole Lombard telling her that she has radiation poisoning. New York journalist Frederic March finds out about this and brings Lombard and Winninger to New York as a publicity stunt. March later discovers that Lombard is not going to die, but this does not matter to him; he has fallen in love with her.

Now in the early 1950s, this movie was turned into a Broadway musical called "Hazel Flagg". The score was written by Jule Styne ("Anchors Away", "High Button Shoes", "Gentleman Prefer Blondes", "Gypsy", "Funny Girl") and Bob Hilliard (a Brill Building lyricist). The show was semi-successful, so Paramount decided to use it as a basis for a Martin and Lewis comedy.

Dean is the skirt chasing, incompetent doctor. Jerry is the patient, becoming "Homer Flagg". March's role is given over to Janet Leigh and she falls for Dean. Some of the Broadway song are used: "How Do You Speak to an Angel", "Every Street's a Boulevard", "You're Gonna Dance with Me". Styne and Hilliard also wrote a batch of new songs for Dean and Jerry. In fact, Dean and Jerry handle all of the musical numbers.

Now the movies never really captured the essence of Martin and Lewis. That is only available through kinescopes of their "Colgate Comedy Hour" and a bootleg film of a show at the Copa. The tension between the relaxed crooner-comic (Martin) being upstaged by his ambitious partner with a schizoid personality (sometimes silly juvenile, sometimes savvy show biz comic) is seen in these shows. It is truly fascinating and brings a depth to the partnership of Martin and Lewis that no other comedy team has ever had.

In the movies, Dean was cast as a heel who is reformed by the end of the movie by his partner and his leading lady. Jerry is a magical sprite; he appears to be inept and clumsy, but he is way ahead of every other character in the film. While some of this is seen in "Living It Up", it is blatantly true of "Jumping Jacks". Both Dean and Jerry are full service entertainers. They are funny, the can sing, they can dance, and they can act. The shame of it all is that they broke up before they had really hit their stride. Just imagine films featuring Dean's drunk, sex maniac character which appeared very shortly after the breakup and Jerry's mature schizoid "I'm a famous movie star" clown.

As for "Living It Up", it is a musical comedy which can be viewed again and again. The story is great, the songs are tuneful, and the gags are fast and funny.


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