Lillian Russell (1940)

127 mins | Drama | 24 May 1940

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HISTORY

According to news items in HR , this film was shot on location in Santa Barbara, CA, and at the T. J. Bradford estate in Pasadena, CA, which Lillian Russell had leased in 1905 while on vacation. Studio publicity contained in the Production Files at the AMPAS Library notes that Madame Rosa Binner, who designed the diamond-studded corset in the film, also designed Russell's original diamond-studded corset. A 1939 item in the NYT adds that Darryl Zanuck bought Alice Faye's radio contract because he believed that radio appearances by film stars were hurting the box office receipts of their pictures. Richard Day and Joseph C. Wright were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for their work on this film. In this picture, Edward Arnold portrayed Diamond Jim Brady for the second time; the first was in the 1935 film Diamond Jim Brady (see above). In Oct 1940, Lux Radio Theater presented a radio version of Lillian Russell starring Alice Faye and Victor ... More Less

According to news items in HR , this film was shot on location in Santa Barbara, CA, and at the T. J. Bradford estate in Pasadena, CA, which Lillian Russell had leased in 1905 while on vacation. Studio publicity contained in the Production Files at the AMPAS Library notes that Madame Rosa Binner, who designed the diamond-studded corset in the film, also designed Russell's original diamond-studded corset. A 1939 item in the NYT adds that Darryl Zanuck bought Alice Faye's radio contract because he believed that radio appearances by film stars were hurting the box office receipts of their pictures. Richard Day and Joseph C. Wright were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for their work on this film. In this picture, Edward Arnold portrayed Diamond Jim Brady for the second time; the first was in the 1935 film Diamond Jim Brady (see above). In Oct 1940, Lux Radio Theater presented a radio version of Lillian Russell starring Alice Faye and Victor Mature. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 May 40
p. 4.
Film Daily
16 May 40
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 40
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 40
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 40
p. 30.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
17 May 30
p. 1, 10
Motion Picture Herald
13 Apr 40
p. 46.
Motion Picture Herald
18 May 40
p. 48.
New York Times
22 Feb 1939.
---
New York Times
18 May 40
p. 11.
Variety
22 May 40
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Darryl F. Zanuck Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Corset designed by
MUSIC
Mus dir
DANCE
Dances staged by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Adored One," music and lyrics by Alfred Newman and Mack Gordon
"Blue Love Bird," music and lyrics by Gus Kahn and Bronislau Kaper
"Waltz Is King," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Charles Henderson
+
SONGS
"Adored One," music and lyrics by Alfred Newman and Mack Gordon
"Blue Love Bird," music and lyrics by Gus Kahn and Bronislau Kaper
"Waltz Is King," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Charles Henderson
"Back in the Days of Old Broadway," music and lyrics by Charles Henderson and Alfred Newman.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 May 1940
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 15 May 1940
Production Date:
mid January--early March 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 May 1940
Copyright Number:
LP10070
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
127
Length(in feet):
11,433
Length(in reels):
14
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6050
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Helen Leonard, who was born in Clinton, Iowa at the beginning of the Civil War, moves with her family to New York, where, under the tutelage of music teacher Leopold Damrosch, she develops into a talented singer. While returning home from her lessons one day, Helen meets Alexander Moore, an aspiring reporter, when he stops her runaway carriage, and later, they make a pact to celebrate together when they find success. Success comes quickly to Helen when impressario Tony Pastor overhears her singing and puts her on stage as Lillian Russell. Lillian's rise to immediate stardom prompts her suffragette mother to warn that success will interfere with her personal happiness. Sadly, Mrs. Leonard's prediction comes true when Alexander, who is in love with Lillian, becomes intimidated by her fame and loses touch with her. Although showered by jewels sent by "Diamond" Jim Brady and pursued by Jessie Lewisohn, Lillian chooses to marry frustrated composer Edward Solomon. After the wedding, the newlyweds travel to London, where Edward's tempermental meddling provokes William Gilbert to fire Lillian. Soon after the birth of their daughter, Edward dies of a heart attack, and Lillian, driven by her husband's dream for her success in Europe, triumphs in London. Lillian returns home to a marriage proposal from Diamond Jim, which she refuses. That night, Alexander, who now owns a newspaper in Pittsburgh, comes to visit Lillian backstage, and their old love is ... +


Helen Leonard, who was born in Clinton, Iowa at the beginning of the Civil War, moves with her family to New York, where, under the tutelage of music teacher Leopold Damrosch, she develops into a talented singer. While returning home from her lessons one day, Helen meets Alexander Moore, an aspiring reporter, when he stops her runaway carriage, and later, they make a pact to celebrate together when they find success. Success comes quickly to Helen when impressario Tony Pastor overhears her singing and puts her on stage as Lillian Russell. Lillian's rise to immediate stardom prompts her suffragette mother to warn that success will interfere with her personal happiness. Sadly, Mrs. Leonard's prediction comes true when Alexander, who is in love with Lillian, becomes intimidated by her fame and loses touch with her. Although showered by jewels sent by "Diamond" Jim Brady and pursued by Jessie Lewisohn, Lillian chooses to marry frustrated composer Edward Solomon. After the wedding, the newlyweds travel to London, where Edward's tempermental meddling provokes William Gilbert to fire Lillian. Soon after the birth of their daughter, Edward dies of a heart attack, and Lillian, driven by her husband's dream for her success in Europe, triumphs in London. Lillian returns home to a marriage proposal from Diamond Jim, which she refuses. That night, Alexander, who now owns a newspaper in Pittsburgh, comes to visit Lillian backstage, and their old love is rekindled. +

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

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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.