Love Me or Leave Me (1955)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  10 June 1955 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,609 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 19 critic

A fictionalized account of the career of jazz singer Ruth Etting and her tempestuous marriage to gangster Marty Snyder, who helped propel her to stardom.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Johnny Alderman
Bernard V. Loomis
Tom Tully ...
Richard Gaines ...
Paul Hunter
Peter Leeds ...
Fred Taylor
Claude Stroud ...
Eddie Fulton
Audrey Young ...
Jingle Girl
John Harding ...
Greg Trent


In 1920's Chicago, Ruth Etting wants to be a renowned singer, which is a far step away from her current work as a taxi dancer. Upon walking into the dance hall and seeing her, Chicago gangster Marty Snyder immediately falls for Ruth, and works toward being her lover, which he believes he can achieve by opening up singing opportunities for her. Ruth is initially wary of Marty, but makes it clear that she is not interested in him in a romantic sense. Regardless, he does help her professionally, and through his opportunities, which are achieved through intimidation and fear, Ruth does quickly start to gain a name as a singer, which she is able to do because of her talent and despite Marty's intimidation tactics. However, the greater her success, the more reliant she becomes on him. This becomes an issue in their relationship as she believes he can take her only so far before he becomes a liability, however he will never let her go that easily. The one person who tried and tries to get ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 June 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ama-me ou Esquece-me  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (5.0) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


Doris Day wrote in her autobiography that she hesitated before accepting the lead in this film. Ruth Etting was a kept woman who clawed her way up from seamy Chicago nightclubs to the Ziegfeld Follies. It would require her to drink, wear scant, sexy costumes and to string along a man she didn't love in order to further her career. There was also a certain vulgarity about Ruth Etting that she didn't want to play. Producer Joe Pasternak convinced Day to accept the role because she would give the part some dignity that would play away from the vulgarity. See more »


During one scene late in the film where Cagney is speaking, the audio/visuals are off by more than a second. See more »


Martin Snyder: [to Ruth Etting when she visits him in jail] Tell 'em you seen me in the pokey and I looked great! Tell 'em I like it! Makes me feel like a kid again!
See more »


Featured in Doris Day: A Sentimental Journey (1991) See more »


My Blue Heaven
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by George Whiting
Sung by Doris Day during the sheet music montage
See more »

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User Reviews

Smashing "Gangster Musical"
22 August 2002 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

"Love Me Or Leave Me" has been critically lauded and publicly supported. I can only concede it's a very fine music/drama/biopic.

What's so unique about this film is it's skillfully combining the "gangster" element with the "musical" genre. The bio-based storyline plays out like somewhat like a crime drama, while the musical portion rings forth with twelve complete full-bodied numbers.

The casting is truly inspired: what a coup getting Doris Day, at the peak of her physical, acting and vocal powers to be cast in a real-life role, while snaring the brilliant, often breathtaking James Cagney--forever at the peak of his powers--as the indestructible "Gimp."

Together they create fireworks, playing off one another's sweet 'n' sour characterizations with great relish. How amusing it is to see Cagney having fun with his deft limp-walk and grueling thug-character, complemented by Day's equally enjoyable, contrastingly lovable persona.

The songs are all very beautiful, and expertly rendered by Day in this, a wonderful tribute to her vocal talent and impressive musicianship.

The script is well-written to utilize the stars' individual gifts, and the widescreen production is a delight to watch. After all these years, "Love Me Or Leave Me" holds its own, thanks to the contributions of two now-legendary stars.

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Why did she marry him? au-grad
love me or leave me theduchess86
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