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
Of the sixty-two films he made, James Cagney wrote that he rated this among his top five. See more »
In the "Shaking The Blues Away" number, Doris Day sings the lyric "Do as Voodoos do/ Listenin' to/ A voodoo melody". The lyric that Ruth Etting performed in the 1920s was "Do as the darkies do/ Listenin' to/ A preacher way down south." The other lyric is from the revised version performed by Ann Miller in the 1948 film "Easter Parade", in which the original was censored for obvious reasons. See more »
[Indignantly to Ruth]
Now look here, you stupid little broad, do you know who I am? Do you think I let dames talk to me that way?
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James Cagney gave a brilliant performance: gritty and tough with nuances of pathos
I am NOT a fan of Doris Day - there is just something about her that annoys me. But in this movie she acted very different from the usual Doris Day movie. And the way she sang those ballads breaks your heart. But the acting job that truly amazes - and has through the years made me a fan - is that of James Cagney. One wonders if he had a parent that was abusive or an Uncle or someone he had intimately observed. Because from somewhere that man understood something about an abusive relationship and put it in his performance. It was positively beyond extraordinary. He deserved an Academy Nomination at the very least. While he was cruel, vile, despicable, certainly repulsive and yet you felt at the same time he was pitiful, sad, pathetic. It was an extremely complex performance. When I saw "Love Me Or Leave Me" as a teenager I didn't appreciate the subtlety of his acting. It wasn't until I saw it many, many years later and had gone through a lot of living that I comprehended the true magnitude of his performance.
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