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
Frothy somewhat, but well worth seeing for Day and Cagney
As a big fan of Doris Day, I was looking forward to Love Me or Leave Me. And overall, I liked it very much. I agree it is occasionally frothy, and it isn't much of a biopic due to some diluting, more to do with the censorship than with the film itself. That said, while a book is probably better in telling what really happened(a kept woman and her obsessive and sexually inadequate gangster sponsor), the truth isn't completely skimmed over and the story while frothy occasionally is still engrossing, and the script is witty and has a hint of freshness.
Even better though are the production values, music and performances. And the direction from Charles Vidor is excellent. To further elaborate on the points made in this paragraph, the use of CinemaScope framing is exquisite and the costumes and sets are top-notch. The music is wonderful too, with the title number and Ten Cents a Dance wonderfully performed by Day. The two leads are great, Doris Day is a knockout complete with a sexy new image and a great understanding to the role she portrays with great warmth and freshness here, while James Cagney in a tough guy role, one of his better later roles is even better.
In conclusion, maybe not for those looking for the truth, but for entertainment value and a fun film Love Me or Leave Me is just the ticket. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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