Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1948. Warner Bros., Michael Curtiz Productions. Screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, additional dialogue by I.A.L. Diamond, based on the story Romance In High C by Sixto Pondal Rios, Carlos A. Olivari. Cinematography by Elwood Bredell. Produced by Alex Gottlieb. Music by Ray Heindorf, Oscar Levant. Production Design by Anton Grot. Costume Design by Milo Anderson. Film Editing by Rudi Fehr. Academy Awards 1948.
The legend goes that the night before Doris Day was set to leave Hollywood after pounding the pavement and getting nowhere in the movies, she sang at a party that director Michael Curtiz was attending. At that time he was casting this film, which had been intended for Judy Garland but then given to Betty Hutton, who had to drop out due to pregnancy. Day was cast, a star was born, and this delightful musical comedy went on to become a huge success. She plays a nightclub singer who switches places with a society dame (Janis Paige) who wants to test her husband’s fidelity by making him think that she’s gone on a South American cruise and left him with all of New York’s women at his disposal. He counters by hiring a private detective (Jack Carson) to shadow his “wife”, but Carson has no idea that Day is a phony: which is a good thing, because when they fall in love with each other the audience doesn’t have to worry about the sticky moral quandaries that adultery can produce. Filled with lush, romantic music that reaches its highest point with the Oscar-nominated “It’s Magic”, the film is a wonderful treat that gives ample reason for Day’s later success as a movie star. Of interesting trivial note: Paige later originated the lead role in The Pajama Game on Broadway in 1954, which Day played on film in 1957.