Step Lively (1944)

86 or 88 mins | Comedy | 1944

Director:

Tim Whelan

Producer:

Robert Fellows

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Editor:

Gene Milford

Production Designers:

Albert D'Agostino, Carroll Clark

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Manhattan Serenade . According to a news item in NYT , RKO bought the rights to the working title from M-G-M. Frank Sinatra received his first top billing in the opening credits of this picture. The film was the second Sinatra made under a seven-year contract with RKO, but it was his last film for the studio before going under contract to M-G-M. The Var review commented that Room Service , the play on which this film was loosely based, was reworked to feature Sinatra. A news item in HR adds that choreographers Ernst and Maria Matray were awarded term contracts at RKO after completing this film. Gloria De Haven was borrowed from M-G-M to appear in this picture. According to a HR news item, the manager of the Palace Theater in New York claimed that Sinatra fans ripped the railing from the theater's balcony when their idol appeared on the screen. This picture received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction. The 1938 RKO film Room Service , starring the Marx Brothers and directed by William A. Seiter, was also based on the John Murray and Allen Boretz play (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; ... More Less

The working title of this film was Manhattan Serenade . According to a news item in NYT , RKO bought the rights to the working title from M-G-M. Frank Sinatra received his first top billing in the opening credits of this picture. The film was the second Sinatra made under a seven-year contract with RKO, but it was his last film for the studio before going under contract to M-G-M. The Var review commented that Room Service , the play on which this film was loosely based, was reworked to feature Sinatra. A news item in HR adds that choreographers Ernst and Maria Matray were awarded term contracts at RKO after completing this film. Gloria De Haven was borrowed from M-G-M to appear in this picture. According to a HR news item, the manager of the Palace Theater in New York claimed that Sinatra fans ripped the railing from the theater's balcony when their idol appeared on the screen. This picture received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction. The 1938 RKO film Room Service , starring the Marx Brothers and directed by William A. Seiter, was also based on the John Murray and Allen Boretz play (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3831). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Jul 1944.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jun 44
pp. 3, 9
Film Daily
21 Jun 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 44
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 44
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Mar 44
pp. 1785-86.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Jun 44
p. 1957.
New York Times
13 Feb 1944.
---
New York Times
27 Jul 44
p. 14.
Variety
21 Jun 44
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Adolph Menjou
Robert Andersen
Glenn Vernon
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch arr
Vocal dir
Mus arr for Mr. Sinatra
SOUND
Mus re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Mus numbers created and staged by
Mus numbers created and stage by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Room Service by John Murray and Allen Boretz, as produced by George Abbott (New York, 17 May 1937).
SONGS
"Some Other Time," "As Long as There Is Music," "Ask the Madam," "Where Does Love Begin?" "Why Must There Be an Opening Song?" and "Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are," music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Manhattan Serenade
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 26 July 1944
Production Date:
early February--late March 1944
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 June 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12787
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86 or 88
Length(in feet):
7,941
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9964
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Penniless theatrical impresario Gordon Miller has housed his entire cast of twenty-two in a New York hotel managed by Gribble, his brother-in-law. When Gribble informs him that Wagner, the supervising director of the hotel, has discovered the troupe's unpaid bill, Gordon assures him that he has found a financial backer for the show. Gordon's financial woes multiply when playwright Glenn Russell arrives from Illinois and threatens to call his uncle, a judge, unless the impresario refunds the $1,500 he had accepted to stage Glenn's play. To placate Glenn, Gordon checks him into the hotel and lies that his play is in rehearsal, inviting him to attend a performance the following morning. That evening, Gordon takes Glenn to a nightclub to see his star, Christine Marlowe, perform. When Chris invites Glenn to join her in a song, the women in the audience go wild, and Gordon, recognizing Glenn's potential as a singer, asks Chris to convince him to join the show. The next morning, Simon Jenkins, Gordon's backer, watches a dreadful rendition of Glenn's play and is about to withdraw his support when his companion, Miss Abbott, hears Glenn sing and insists on investing in the show. Jenkins then offers Gordon $50,000 to produce his musical revue, explaining that he is a representative of Miss Abbott's wealthy patron, who wishes to purchase the show as a starring vehicle for her. Before the deal is finalized, however, an impatient Wagner demands that Gordon pay his hotel bill. To stall, Gordon lies that Glenn has become ill and is unable to move, and Chris convinces Glenn to go along with the scheme. Wagner brings ... +


Penniless theatrical impresario Gordon Miller has housed his entire cast of twenty-two in a New York hotel managed by Gribble, his brother-in-law. When Gribble informs him that Wagner, the supervising director of the hotel, has discovered the troupe's unpaid bill, Gordon assures him that he has found a financial backer for the show. Gordon's financial woes multiply when playwright Glenn Russell arrives from Illinois and threatens to call his uncle, a judge, unless the impresario refunds the $1,500 he had accepted to stage Glenn's play. To placate Glenn, Gordon checks him into the hotel and lies that his play is in rehearsal, inviting him to attend a performance the following morning. That evening, Gordon takes Glenn to a nightclub to see his star, Christine Marlowe, perform. When Chris invites Glenn to join her in a song, the women in the audience go wild, and Gordon, recognizing Glenn's potential as a singer, asks Chris to convince him to join the show. The next morning, Simon Jenkins, Gordon's backer, watches a dreadful rendition of Glenn's play and is about to withdraw his support when his companion, Miss Abbott, hears Glenn sing and insists on investing in the show. Jenkins then offers Gordon $50,000 to produce his musical revue, explaining that he is a representative of Miss Abbott's wealthy patron, who wishes to purchase the show as a starring vehicle for her. Before the deal is finalized, however, an impatient Wagner demands that Gordon pay his hotel bill. To stall, Gordon lies that Glenn has become ill and is unable to move, and Chris convinces Glenn to go along with the scheme. Wagner brings a doctor to examine the "patient," and when Jenkins appears at the hotel room door, Gordon locks the doctor on the balcony. Jenkins presents Gordon with a check signed by a Los Angeles millionaire and is about to endorse it when Wagner enters the suite and threatens to call the police unless Gordon vacates the premises immediately. Wagner's threat panics Jenkins, who attempts to run away. When the doctor, who has overheard the entire proceedings, reveals the name of the wealthy benefactor, Wagner, Gribble and Gordon pursue Jenkins and coerce him into endorsing the check, which Wagner then confiscates. After Wagner leaves the hotel room, Chris arrives with news that Jenkins plans to cancel the check. Because the check has been drawn on a California bank, Gordon reasons that he has five days before it will bounce, and decides to stage the show in three days. Knowing that Glenn's singing will ensure the show's success, Gordon asks Chris to romance him into performing in the production. When Glenn discovers her duplicity, however, he walks out of the show and returns home to Illinois, causing Chris to realize that she has fallen in love with him. To lure Glenn back to New York, Gordon cables him that Chris is in love with him. On opening night, Wagner and Gribble discover that the check has bounced and Wagner threatens to jail Gordon. At that moment, Glenn arrives, and to distract Wagner, feigns a suicide attempt. Gordon then sends his assistants, Harry and Binion, to start the show while he stalls Wagner and Gribble. As Wagner, Gribble and Gordon stand their "death watch," the show begins, and when the time for Glenn's performance arrives, Gordon stuffs Wagner in the closet and rushes Glenn on stage. Escaping just in time to witness the audience's acclaim for Glenn's performance, Wagner happily acknowledges that Gordon has a hit on his hands. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
with songs, Show business


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.