To Please a Lady (1950)

90-91 mins | Romance | 13 October 1950

Director:

Clarence Brown

Producer:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, James Basevi

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

According to a Jan 1951 article in the racing magazine Speed Age , Clark Gable informed M-G-M that he wanted to appear in an automobile racing picture a short time after he visited Indianapolis in 1947. The studio spent two years searching for the right script for Gable and eventually came up with a story written by Barré Lyndon and Marge Decker. According to a news item in DV , M-G-M paid $50,000 for the film rights to Lyndon and Decker's story. Various contemporary news items in DV relate the following information about the production: Robert Pirosh worked on the screenplay for several months before withdrawing from the assignment in Dec 1949. Pirosh reportedly left the picture because of a creative dispute with Dore Schary, Vice President in Charge of Production at M-G-M, and the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. The screenwriting assignment was eventually handed to Lyndon and Decker.
       According to a Jun 1949 HR news item, M-G-M originally planned the film as a starring vehicle for Gable and Lana Turner. Stanwyck was announced as Gable's co-star in a Sep 1949 DV news item. Director Clarence Brown was a former automobile test driver and had owned and managed a car sales agency before entering films in 1915. Several real-life race car drivers and racing officials appeared in the film, including drivers Duane Carter, Johnnie Parsons, Henry Banks and Walt Faulkner, and Indianapolis announcer Ted Husing. DV news items list Tim Ryan, and professional race car drivers Joie Chitwood, Cecil Green and Jack McGrath in the cast, but their appearance ... More Less

According to a Jan 1951 article in the racing magazine Speed Age , Clark Gable informed M-G-M that he wanted to appear in an automobile racing picture a short time after he visited Indianapolis in 1947. The studio spent two years searching for the right script for Gable and eventually came up with a story written by Barré Lyndon and Marge Decker. According to a news item in DV , M-G-M paid $50,000 for the film rights to Lyndon and Decker's story. Various contemporary news items in DV relate the following information about the production: Robert Pirosh worked on the screenplay for several months before withdrawing from the assignment in Dec 1949. Pirosh reportedly left the picture because of a creative dispute with Dore Schary, Vice President in Charge of Production at M-G-M, and the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. The screenwriting assignment was eventually handed to Lyndon and Decker.
       According to a Jun 1949 HR news item, M-G-M originally planned the film as a starring vehicle for Gable and Lana Turner. Stanwyck was announced as Gable's co-star in a Sep 1949 DV news item. Director Clarence Brown was a former automobile test driver and had owned and managed a car sales agency before entering films in 1915. Several real-life race car drivers and racing officials appeared in the film, including drivers Duane Carter, Johnnie Parsons, Henry Banks and Walt Faulkner, and Indianapolis announcer Ted Husing. DV news items list Tim Ryan, and professional race car drivers Joie Chitwood, Cecil Green and Jack McGrath in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. William C. McGaw plays Chitwood in the picture. Cay Forester was announced for a featured role, but she did not appear in the final film.
       According to an Apr 1950 DV news item, the film was the first to feature auto racing scenes photographed at actual speed. The news item notes that previous racing films were "undercranked" by cameramen to create the illusion of speed. The DV news item also notes that Indianapolis race car driver Manuel Ayulo was hired by M-G-M to drive the specially equipped camera car that traveled ahead of the race cars and filmed them at racing speed. Much of the film was shot on location at the Indianapolis Speedway in Indiana. Some background filming also took place in Syracuse, NY, and at the Culver City Stadium in Culver City, CA. Filming of the dirt track auto race took place on location in Arlington Downs, TX. Wilbur Shaw, the president of the Indianapolis Speedway Association and a former race car driver, served as a technical advisor on the film.
       Production on the film was originally set to begin in Dec 1949 but was delayed until Apr 1950 to coincide with the Indianapolis Speedway Decoration Day [Memorial Day] auto race in May. The film opened to mixed reviews, with many critics dismissing the plot as insignificant while commending the racing sequences. The film was re-released as Red Hot Wheels . John Hodiak and Donna Reed played the starring roles in the Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the story on 26 Nov 1951. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Oct 1950.
---
Daily Variety
6 Sep 49
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Sep 49
p. 1.
Daily Variety
2 Dec 49
p. 1.
Daily Variety
3 Jan 50
p. 15.
Daily Variety
2 Feb 50
p. 15.
Daily Variety
22 Mar 50
p. 11.
Daily Variety
29 Mar 50
p. 11.
Daily Variety
3 Apr 50
p. 5.
Daily Variety
6 Apr 50
p. 11.
Daily Variety
7 Apr 50
p. 14.
Daily Variety
11 Apr 50
p. 1.
Daily Variety
14 Apr 50
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Oct 50
pp. 3-4.
Film Daily
4 Oct 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 50
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 50
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Oct 50
p. 509.
New York Times
27 Oct 50
p. 24.
Speed Age
Jan 1951.
---
Variety
4 Oct 50
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Clarence Brown Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and scr
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Montage seq
MAKEUP
Hair styles des by
Makeup created by
Hair styles
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Driver of cam car
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 October 1950
Production Date:
3 April--mid June 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 September 1950
Copyright Number:
LP379
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90-91
Length(in feet):
8,234
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14737
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Regina Forbes, a glib syndicated columnist known for her hard-hitting exposes and tantalizing high society gossip, is determined to write a profile on midget race car driver Mike Brannan. Mike, a former Marine, is despised by racecar driving fans because of his ruthless and dangerous tactics on the racetrack. After watching a televised broadcast of a midget race and a television interview with Mike, Regina goes to the race track to see Mike in person. She meets Mike just before his next race, but Mike shows little interest in Regina's story and the prospect of nationwide publicity. During the race, Mike displays the dirty tricks that made him famous, causing accidents and forcing other cars off the track at crucial moments. Mike wins the race but Joe Youghal, the driver of one of the cars he caused to crash, dies. Afterward, Regina asks Mike to explain the death of Youghal and another driver he forced off the track in an earlier race, but Mike dismisses both deaths as part of the profession and shows little remorse. Regina writes a scathing piece on the incident, and the following day, when her column appears in the newspapers, racetrack operators everywhere begin to worry that the bad publicity will mean the end of the races. To protect themselves, the owners ostracize Mike and bar him from future races. After being rejected at one speedway after another, Mike tries to race under an alias but is exposed by a local newspaper in the town of Bainsville. Mike becomes furious at Regina, whom he calls an "inky-fingered dame," for ruining his career, and is left with no alternative but to ... +


Regina Forbes, a glib syndicated columnist known for her hard-hitting exposes and tantalizing high society gossip, is determined to write a profile on midget race car driver Mike Brannan. Mike, a former Marine, is despised by racecar driving fans because of his ruthless and dangerous tactics on the racetrack. After watching a televised broadcast of a midget race and a television interview with Mike, Regina goes to the race track to see Mike in person. She meets Mike just before his next race, but Mike shows little interest in Regina's story and the prospect of nationwide publicity. During the race, Mike displays the dirty tricks that made him famous, causing accidents and forcing other cars off the track at crucial moments. Mike wins the race but Joe Youghal, the driver of one of the cars he caused to crash, dies. Afterward, Regina asks Mike to explain the death of Youghal and another driver he forced off the track in an earlier race, but Mike dismisses both deaths as part of the profession and shows little remorse. Regina writes a scathing piece on the incident, and the following day, when her column appears in the newspapers, racetrack operators everywhere begin to worry that the bad publicity will mean the end of the races. To protect themselves, the owners ostracize Mike and bar him from future races. After being rejected at one speedway after another, Mike tries to race under an alias but is exposed by a local newspaper in the town of Bainsville. Mike becomes furious at Regina, whom he calls an "inky-fingered dame," for ruining his career, and is left with no alternative but to sell his race car and find a new line of work. Regina, meanwhile, has moved on to other stories, and is now publicizing the activities of Dwight Barrington, who is involved in a fraudulent pension insurance scheme. One day, Regina's manager, Gregg, tells her that Mike is now working as a "thrill driver" at a circus, performing crashes and other stunts. Her curiosity piqued, Regina attends one of the shows and learns that Mike is planning a comeback. After the show, Mike warns Regina to leave him alone, strikes her across the face and then plants a forceful kiss on her. Regina, however, maintains her unflappable composure throughout her encounter with Mike. She also begins to realize that she is in love with him. Just before his comeback race at the Greengrove racetrack, Mike "walks the track" to get a feel for it and finds Regina there waiting for him. As they stroll along the track, Regina breaks a heel, and Mike carries her to her car. Mike comes in second place in the race, but takes first prize in several subsequent races. At the end of the racing season, Mike telephones Regina and tells her that he wants to see her in New York. A romantic evening at a nightclub ends in a quarrel, however, when Regina brings up the topic of the drivers he ran off the track. Unimpressed by Mike's response to her questions, Regina decides to put an end to their romance. They part ways, and Mike prepares for his next big race. Regina watches part of the race on television but turns off her set before it ends, certain that Mike has won it. Immediately following the race, Mike goes to Regina's apartment and they rekindle their affair. The evening is spoiled, however, when Regina receives word that Barrington, who had been sentenced to twenty-five years in prison as a result of her story, has committed suicide. When Regina tells Mike that she feels responsible for Barrington's death, Mike tries to comfort her by telling her that she was only doing her job, just as he did when he drove aggressively on the racetrack. Regina disagrees with Mike's perspective, and they again part with bad feelings. A short time later, though, Regina tries to patch things up and shows up at Mike's big race at Indianapolis. During the race, Mike allows another car to pass him without incident, but the maneuver causes his car to spin out of control and flip. Mike is rushed to the hospital but his injuries are found to be minor. Regina, who is proud of his performance on the track, is now certain that he is the right man for her. +

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.