Here Comes the Groom (1951)

113-114 mins | Romantic comedy | September 1951

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was You Belong to Me . Paramount purchased the original story from frequent Frank Capra collaborator Robert Riskin in 1949. The picture was announced in a 14 Aug 1950 ParNews item as a Bing Crosby vehicle, with Irving Asher producing and Richard Haydn directing. In an early treatment by Liam O'Brien and Asher, the "Emmadel" character was specifically tailored for Jean Arthur, who had starred in some of Capra's most popular 1930s films. ParNews noted that Asher, Haydn and Crosby met at the Crosby ranch in Nevada and had planned to begin production in early Oct 1950. On 27 Aug, however, Haydn was replaced by Capra, and Asher became the associate producer. According to Capra's autobiography, Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman offered to release Capra, who had two pictures remaining on his Paramount contract, from his final film if he directed Here Comes the Groom . In Mar and Apr 1951 news items, Paramount officially announced that Capra was leaving the studio and dissolving Liberty Films after the completion of Here Comes the Groom . According to a Mar 1951 HR item, The Trial , written by Virginia Van Upp, was to have been Capra's last Paramount film.
       In late Oct 1950, pre-production filming in Boston and Gloucester, MA was completed by second units. According to ParNews , Capra set a Paramount production record when he rehearsed, pre-recorded and filmed the musical number "Misto Cristofo Columbo" in less than one day. He used three cameras simultaneously, four projection transparency machines, five ... More Less

The working title of this film was You Belong to Me . Paramount purchased the original story from frequent Frank Capra collaborator Robert Riskin in 1949. The picture was announced in a 14 Aug 1950 ParNews item as a Bing Crosby vehicle, with Irving Asher producing and Richard Haydn directing. In an early treatment by Liam O'Brien and Asher, the "Emmadel" character was specifically tailored for Jean Arthur, who had starred in some of Capra's most popular 1930s films. ParNews noted that Asher, Haydn and Crosby met at the Crosby ranch in Nevada and had planned to begin production in early Oct 1950. On 27 Aug, however, Haydn was replaced by Capra, and Asher became the associate producer. According to Capra's autobiography, Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman offered to release Capra, who had two pictures remaining on his Paramount contract, from his final film if he directed Here Comes the Groom . In Mar and Apr 1951 news items, Paramount officially announced that Capra was leaving the studio and dissolving Liberty Films after the completion of Here Comes the Groom . According to a Mar 1951 HR item, The Trial , written by Virginia Van Upp, was to have been Capra's last Paramount film.
       In late Oct 1950, pre-production filming in Boston and Gloucester, MA was completed by second units. According to ParNews , Capra set a Paramount production record when he rehearsed, pre-recorded and filmed the musical number "Misto Cristofo Columbo" in less than one day. He used three cameras simultaneously, four projection transparency machines, five microphones and three portable recording machines. Publicity materials, included in the film's copyright records, also claim that the scene in which "Pete" telephones "George" was filmed "live." Two sets--George's newspaper office and the orphanage--were equipped with two cameras, which simultaneously recorded each side of the conversation.
       While the film's credits read "introducing Anna Maria Alberghetti," she had previously appeared in the 1950 film version of Gian-Carlo Menotti's opera The Medium (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). HR news items add Elaine Edwards and George David to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. As noted in modern sources, the song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" was written for Betty Hutton. Hutton, for whom contemporary sources claim Here Comes the Groom was originally purchased, was to perform the song in The Mack Sennett Girl , an unproduced biography of silent film star Mabel Normand. While the song is heard throughout Here Comes the Groom , its main production number, according to Capra's autobiography, was filmed in one take with no pre-recording. The orchestra played on a music stage while Crosby and Jane Wyman sang and danced on various sound stages, listening to the orchestra through tiny radios equipped with antenna loops. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" received an Academy Award for Best Song of 1951.
       On the weekend of 30 Jul 1951, the film had its world premiere in the small town of Elko, NV; Crosby, Elko's honorary mayor, owned a 25,000 acre horse ranch sixty miles outside of town. In addition to its Academy Award for Best Song, the film also received a nomination for Best Writing--Motion Picture Story (Robert Riskin and Liam O'Brien). In late Sep 1951, shortly after the film's national release, Franchot Tone was involved in a highly publicized scuffle with actor Tom Neal over actress Barbara Payton. For more information, please consult the entry below for Lady in the Iron Mask . Here Comes the Groom was Capra's last feature film until the 1959 United Artists release A Hole in the Head (see below).
       On 15 Sep 1952, Wyman reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre version of the story. Fred MacMurray co-starred and sang "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening." On 1 Mar 1956, Robert Sterling and Pat Crowley starred in a Lux Video Theatre version, directed by Norman Morgan and broadcast on the NBC television network. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Jul 1951.
---
Box Office
4 Aug 51
p. 18.
Cue
22 Sep 1951.
---
Daily Variety
15 Sep 50
p. 10.
Daily Variety
5 Jul 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Jul 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Citizen-News
7 Sep 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 50
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 1950
p. 7, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1950
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1950
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1950
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 1950
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 1951
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1951
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1951
p. 1.
Los Angeles Examiner
7 Sep 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Sep 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald
18 Aug 51
p. 54.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Jul 51
p. 921.
New York Times
20 Sep 51
p. 37.
New York Times
21 Sep 51
p. 19.
New York Times
7 Oct 1951.
---
Saturday Review
25 Aug 1951.
---
Time
15 Oct 1951.
---
Variety
19 Aug 1949.
---
Variety
11 Jul 51
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Laura Elliott
Robert Rich
Bill Meader
Timmie Hawkins
Jimmie Hawkins
Carol Lou Nugent
Carl Dean Switzer
Mike P. Donovan
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Spec orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Tech adv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Stunts
SOURCES
SONGS
"Misto Cristofo Columbo," "Your Own Little House" and "Bonne Nuit," music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael
"Caro Nome" from the opera Rigoletto , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
You Belong to Me
Release Date:
September 1951
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Elko, NV: 30 July 1951
Los Angeles opening: week of 6 September 1951
New York opening: 20 September 1951
Production Date:
late November 1950--29 January 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 September 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1147
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
113-114
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15222
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Peter Garvey, an easygoing overseas newspaper reporter for The Boston Morning Express , receives a call from his editor, George Degnan, recalling him from his post in Paris, where he has been for three years, writing articles about war orphans. George tells Pete that no one is interested in war orphans anymore, prompting Pete to recount the orphans' dire situation. George, desperate to get Pete out of Paris, offers to transfer him to the latest "hot spot," the Far East. Pete, seeing a new challenge, agrees to go, despite his great affection for the children of the orphanage at which he lives. That same day, Robert Dulac, a twelve-year-old French orphan who has "adopted" Pete as his father, runs off when a wealthy American couple arrives to adopt him. Pete, discovering that the husband is a famous symphony conductor, introduces them to Theresa, an older girl who sings opera, and despite her blindness, the couple adopts her. After he breaks the news to Bobby that he is leaving Paris, Pete receives a phonograph record from his longtime fiancée and childhood sweetheart, Emmadel "Emmy" Jones, informing him that she is tired of waiting for him and wants to get married and have children. Seeing an opportunity to adopt Bobby, Pete wires Emmy that he is coming home to marry her, and is bringing "a surprise" with him. Pete's return to America is delayed while he obtains the necessary documents to take Bobby to America, and is postponed again when Bobby refuses to go without Suzi, the little girl he found during the war and now ... +


Peter Garvey, an easygoing overseas newspaper reporter for The Boston Morning Express , receives a call from his editor, George Degnan, recalling him from his post in Paris, where he has been for three years, writing articles about war orphans. George tells Pete that no one is interested in war orphans anymore, prompting Pete to recount the orphans' dire situation. George, desperate to get Pete out of Paris, offers to transfer him to the latest "hot spot," the Far East. Pete, seeing a new challenge, agrees to go, despite his great affection for the children of the orphanage at which he lives. That same day, Robert Dulac, a twelve-year-old French orphan who has "adopted" Pete as his father, runs off when a wealthy American couple arrives to adopt him. Pete, discovering that the husband is a famous symphony conductor, introduces them to Theresa, an older girl who sings opera, and despite her blindness, the couple adopts her. After he breaks the news to Bobby that he is leaving Paris, Pete receives a phonograph record from his longtime fiancée and childhood sweetheart, Emmadel "Emmy" Jones, informing him that she is tired of waiting for him and wants to get married and have children. Seeing an opportunity to adopt Bobby, Pete wires Emmy that he is coming home to marry her, and is bringing "a surprise" with him. Pete's return to America is delayed while he obtains the necessary documents to take Bobby to America, and is postponed again when Bobby refuses to go without Suzi, the little girl he found during the war and now "owns." When Pete, Bobby and Suzi finally arrive in America, several weeks late, Pete discovers that Emmy has once more tired of waiting for him and has become engaged to her boss, Wilbur Stanley, a Boston blue blood and real estate tycoon worth forty million dollars. To further complicate matters, Emmy is getting married that Saturday, the same day that Pete must be married to prevent Bobby and Suzi's being sent back to France. Pete tricks Emmy into leasing him one of Wilbur's previously rented houses and stages a news event, claiming he is a victim of "corporate greed." When Wilbur shows up to settle the matter, Pete is startled to find that Wilbur is not the old man he thought, but Pete's equal, if not superior, in every way. Pete had hoped to blackmail Wilbur into allowing him to stay in the gate house at his vast estate, but Wilbur, learning who Pete really is, readily agrees, hoping to be assured of Emmy's true affection. The two men make a bargain to allow each other to test Emmy's love for them, without getting in the other's way. At the Stanley estate, Pete meets Winifred Stanley, Wilbur's "kissing cousin," who has secretly loved Wilbur for years. At first Pete hopes to make Emmy jealous by claiming his affection for Winifred, but quickly changes tactics by trying to "Jonesify" the staid Winifred. Pete successfully teaches Winifred how to wrestle, laugh heartily and provoke wolf whistles with a seductive walk. At the wedding rehearsal, after Winifred takes Emmy's place and proclaims her love for Wilbur, the two women get into a wrestling match, and Emmy admits she is "no lady." Much to Pete's chagrin, Wilbur is not dismayed, but instead tells Emmy that he is glad she is acting like herself again rather than trying too hard to be a lady. Thinking he has won, Wilbur arranges to adopt Bobby and Suzi after marrying Emmy, but the wedding is disrupted when an FBI agent arrives with Pete in tow, claiming he tried to abduct the children. Emmy, not wanting Pete to lose the children, asks Wilbur to intercede, which he does by having Pete take his place at the altar. After the ceremony, Pete confesses to Wilbur that the FBI agent was really a fellow reporter, but the genial Wilbur congratulates him on his ingenuity. Pete instructs Wilbur to take good care of Winifred, and Wilbur, finally realizing how much he cares for Winifred, happily asks her if she wants to wrestle. Emmy and Pete then drive off with their new family, and Emmy cheerfully reveals that she knew the FBI agent was a fake. +

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.