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
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 »
Ruth Etting's name is billed over 'Ziegfeld Follies' on a theater marquee. The Ziegfeld Follies never allowed any performer's name to be placed over the title of the show. See more »
Doris Day Deserved An Oscar Nomination For This Film
This film pre-dates & set the standard for films like Barbra Streisand's "Funny Girl" & Diana Ross' "Lady Sings The Blues", two other great films which showcased singers in acting roles playing real-life people. "Love Me Or Leave Me" was Doris Day's MGM "extravagaza" (after several formula, cookie-cutter musicals at Warner Bros.) playing Ruth Etting a torch singer from the 1920's. She is at her dramatic best & never looked sexier. Her voice is as pleasing as ever & the songs are very enjoyable ("At Sundown", "Love Me Or Leave Me", "Shaking The Blues Away", & "Mean To Me", among others). Some of Doris' fans were distraught to see her drinking & scheming to climb her way to the top, but the fact of the matter is she was playing someone else & she was very convincing. James Cagney was grating as Marty "The Gimp" Snyder the Chicago gangster who helped Etting attain her show biz goals. This film displays all that Doris Day could have been if she had continued to find meaty roles to her acting advantage. When most people think of her, they think of the fluffy bedroom comedies she did with Rock Hudson, Cary Grant & James Garner.("Pillow Talk", "Lover Come Back", "That Touch of Mink"...), the virginal persona, the freckles, etc. If you're only familiar with those films you should see this & you'll be impressed. (I recently heard Jennifer Lopez wants to re-make this film, God help us all!!)
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