Herman owes a lot of gambling debts. To pay them off, he promises the mob he'll fix a horse, so that it does not run. He intends to trick his animal-loving cousin, Virgil, an apprentice ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
[to Dr. Harris as he sees a skeleton in his office closet]
You probably thought nothing was wrong with him either!
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One of my favorite Martin&Lewis Pictures has quite the pedigree. Originally Ben Hecht wrote this as the story behind the film Nothing Sacred, it then was recreated as a musical Hazel Flagg on Broadway with songs by Jule Styne and Bob Hilliard. Then Paramount bought it as a vehicle for Martin and Lewis and scrapped most of the score retaining only How Do You Speak To An Angel and Every Street's A Boulevard.
It's one of those gender reversal parts that Jerry Lewis got playing Homer Flagg, stationmaster at Desert Hole, New Mexico who gets a mistaken diagnosis of radium poisoning by Dr. Dean Martin. That sends Janet Leigh ace reporter on Fred Clark's newspaper for the human interest story of a man dying whose only wish is to see The Big Apple before he dies.
Of course it's all a mistake, but Dean and Jerry keep the deception going to wangle a free trip to New York at Fred Clark's expense. And both of them fight over Janet Leigh.
This was one film where Dean Martin did very well in the song department. Two songs written for the film by the same Broadway composers became favorites of Dino's fans world wide. That's What I Like and Money Burns A Whole In My Pocket sold a few records for him, the latter is a particular favorite of mine.
As for Jerry he has some great comedy routines, one with Sig Ruman as a doctor specialist sent to examine him, another on the train that drops him in the middle of the Los Alamos Proving Grounds where they think he gets the radium poisoning, another swinging from a chandelier doing a demented act and pelting Dean Martin and Fred Clark with light-bulbs.
Highlight of the film is both of them doing one of the great New York tribute ballads Every Street's A Boulevard In Old New York. Dean&Jerry also recorded this and it's a real gem on record and on film.
If you're not a Martin&Lewis fan you'll become one after seeing Living It Up.
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