Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1951. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose, based on The Gus Kahn Story by Louis F. Edelman, Grace Kahn. Cinematography by Ted D. McCord. Produced by Louis F. Edelman. Music by Ray Heindorf. Production Design by Douglas Bacon. Costume Design by Marjorie Best, Leah Rhodes. Film Editing by Owen Marks. Golden Globe Awards 1951.
Unremarkable but pleasant film biography of song lyricist Gus Kahn, whose clever and lovely words still grace the lips of singers today. Danny Thomas plays Kahn, a delivery man who spent years writing song lyrics and poems before finally taking them to a music store and showing them to a whiz of a song seller (Doris Day) who sees his talent immediately. The two of them hit the road to sell his work, eventually falling in love and getting married as she pushes him to the greatest heights, working with such luminaries as Gershwin and for such great producers as Ziegfeld and, in time, the silver screen. While it smells of having been scrubbed up for the big screen (notice the similarities with films such as Night And Day, Words and Music and Til The Clouds Roll By), it doesn’t seem that Kahn’s life could have been too interesting in even the most honest of terms, and the emphasis placed on him having to get over his domineering wife eventually grows annoyingly offensive. However, it is nice to hear Day singing “Makin’ Whoopee”, though in general she is underused, while Thomas gives a heartfelt performance that carries the picture admirably.