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
This was the only time, after becoming a star in the 1930s, that James Cagney ever accepted second billing for a major role. He thought that Doris Day's character was more central to the film's plot, and so ceded top billing to her. 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 »
[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!
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Bittersweet story was a triumph for Day and Cagney...
I never had to be convinced that Doris Day was a fine actress--from her first film ('Romance on the High Seas') which she stole from veterans like Jack Carson and Janis Paige--to 'Storm Warning' (her first dramatic role as Ginger Rogers' sister)--she never made a false move. But her real acting triumph came with this hard-hitting Ruth Etting biography in which she does an amazing job as the torch singer involved with a gangster boyfriend (James Cagney). Cagney has never been more impressive as the Chicago hood who manages her career--and Day manages to match him every step of the way with a gutsy, heart-felt performance.
Also shown to good advantage is Cameron Mitchell as an admirer with real affection for Day. Their scenes together have a poignant quality because you know how deep the feelings go on both sides. Day's rendition of a haunting ballad, 'I'll Never Stop Loving You', is one of the film's highlights--along with 'Ten Cents A Dance', 'Mean to Me', 'Love Me Or Leave Me', etc. She is simply brilliant.
The high quality of the Oscar-winning script (Best Story) is a tribute to the overall quality of the film itself. A highly dramatic musical, it makes you wonder what Day's career might have been like if she remained at Metro for more such films rather than the sugar-and-spice things she did at Warner Bros. Some of them were charming (the old-fashioned musicals with Gordon MacRae), but since she was a fine dramatic actress she could have done so much more. Day's voice is a sheer pleasure here--perfect pitch, warm tones and easy on the ears. Nobody could sing a ballad like Doris does here. 'I'll Never Stop Loving You' is my favorite.
Summing up: highly recommended as one of the best musical biographies you're ever likely to see.
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