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Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.
Paramount paid $285,000 for the film rights to the stage hit, a record at the time. $115,000 to producer Sam Harris, $85,000 to librettist Moss Hart and $42,500 each to composer Kurt Weill and lyricist Ira Gershwin. See more »
Even with 3 Oscar nominations Lady In The Dark was by all accounts a grave disappointment for the movie going public. For one thing the film did not retain Kurt Weill's and Ira Gershwin's score save for the two primary numbers My Ship and The Saga Of Jenny. But worse than that, Gertrude Lawrence was not brought to Hollywood to make the film. Lady In The Dark more than most was a personal star vehicle and rumor has it that that particular star was furious at being left out. Listen to her recordings of those two songs I mentioned and you'll agree with me. Ginger Rogers the star in the film was ruthlessly compared with Gertrude Lawrence and not for the better. Sad because Ginger does do a decent job in the part.
Lady In The Dark is about psychoanalysis and the subject is the lead character Liza Elliott successful career woman and editor of Allure Magazine. But she's in analysis now because of persistent headaches and recurring daydreams that the medical profession can't find a reason for. So she's on Dr. Barry Sullivan's couch for sessions while trying to put out her magazine.
Her problem seems to be the men in her life and they include assistant editor Ray Milland, publisher Warner Baxter who just can't quite break up his marriage for her, and visiting movie star Jon Hall. So Ginger Rogers like her role model Jenny takes the whole to finally make up her mind.
The strength of Lady In The Dark is the elaborate sets used for the various dream/fantasy sequences from the show. No surprise here because director Mitchell Leisen started out as a set designer. Art Direction was one of the nominations Lady In The Dark got as well as for musical scoring and color cinematography. It might have won one or two, but in 1944 Paramount was putting its big publicity guns out for Going My Way because the studio meal ticket Bing Crosby was the star.
Lady In The Dark is also a great example of the gay cinema in some very repressive years. Mischa Auer plays the flamboyant fashion photographer Russell Paxton in a role Danny Kaye originated on Broadway. See how Auer effervesces over the person of Jon Hall when his film star character comes to the offices. On Broadway Kaye had the song Tschaikowsky interpolated into the score for him. It was written by his wife Sylvia Fine. Auer doesn't do that, but in every other way he repeats Kaye's characterization with I'm sure a few touches of his own.
Fans of both Gertrude Lawrence and the music of Kurt Weill were disappointed then and still today.
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