Meet the People (1944)

90 mins | Comedy-drama | 1944

Director:

Charles F. Reisner

Producer:

E. Y. Harburg

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Corp.
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HISTORY

Prior to its New York opening, Louis Lantz and Ben and Sol Barzman's play Meet the People was performed in Los Angeles. In the film, Paul Regan, who plays "Swanee's" friend "Buck," does several impersonations of celebrities, including Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Henry Morgan. The "Shicklegruber" number features a comic impersonation of Benito Mussolini and a chimpanzee dressed like Adolf Hitler. (Schicklgruber was Hitler's father's real name.) In that number, an excerpt from the sextet from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, is performed.
       HR news items add the following information about the production: In late Oct 1941, M-G-M hired Francis Wallace to adapt the stage show, then in Nov 1942, assigned Hugo Butler to work on the screenplay. The contributions of these writers to the completed film has not been confirmed. In addition to writing the play, Ben and Sol Bartzman and Louis Lantz worked on a treatment for the picture. Although Victor Borge, Lena Horne and Nancy Walker were announced as cast members, they did not appear in the completed film. Robert Strickland, Beryl McCutcheon, Billy Engle, Eugene King, Gertrude Bennett, Margaret Bert, Frank Adams, Julian Smith, Sydney Troy, Margaret Adden, Jean Murray, singers Elsa and Eileen Nilsson, Dewey Robinson and Judy Clark were also announced as cast members, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The following songs were written for the film, but were not used: "In Times Like These" by Sammy Fain and E. Y. Harburg; "Thank You, Columbus" by Burton Lane and Harburg; and "Song of the Bayou" by ... More Less

Prior to its New York opening, Louis Lantz and Ben and Sol Barzman's play Meet the People was performed in Los Angeles. In the film, Paul Regan, who plays "Swanee's" friend "Buck," does several impersonations of celebrities, including Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Henry Morgan. The "Shicklegruber" number features a comic impersonation of Benito Mussolini and a chimpanzee dressed like Adolf Hitler. (Schicklgruber was Hitler's father's real name.) In that number, an excerpt from the sextet from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, is performed.
       HR news items add the following information about the production: In late Oct 1941, M-G-M hired Francis Wallace to adapt the stage show, then in Nov 1942, assigned Hugo Butler to work on the screenplay. The contributions of these writers to the completed film has not been confirmed. In addition to writing the play, Ben and Sol Bartzman and Louis Lantz worked on a treatment for the picture. Although Victor Borge, Lena Horne and Nancy Walker were announced as cast members, they did not appear in the completed film. Robert Strickland, Beryl McCutcheon, Billy Engle, Eugene King, Gertrude Bennett, Margaret Bert, Frank Adams, Julian Smith, Sydney Troy, Margaret Adden, Jean Murray, singers Elsa and Eileen Nilsson, Dewey Robinson and Judy Clark were also announced as cast members, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The following songs were written for the film, but were not used: "In Times Like These" by Sammy Fain and E. Y. Harburg; "Thank You, Columbus" by Burton Lane and Harburg; and "Song of the Bayou" by Rube Bloom. In Mar 1944, a 16mm version of Meet the People was shown to troops overseas before its U.S. release. June Allyson and Dick Powell, who married in 1945, performed together onscreen for the first time in this film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Apr 1944.
---
Daily Variety
4 Apr 44
pp. 3-4.
Film Daily
21 Apr 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Citizen-News
2 Jun 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 41
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 43
p. 2, 8
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 43
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 43
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 44
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Apr 44
p. 1834.
New York Times
8 Sep 44
p. 16.
Variety
5 Apr 44
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and His Orchestra
and His City Slickers
Dell Henderson
Katharine Booth
Fred "Snowflake" Toones
Fred Beckner
Capt. Fred Somers
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt contr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Mus presentation
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Assoc
Men's cost
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dance dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Meet the People by Sol and Ben Barzman and Louis Lantz (New York, 20 Dec 1940).
SONGS
"In Times Like These" and "Shicklegruber," words and music by Sammy Fain and E. Y. Harburg
"Heave Ho," words and music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
"Smart to Be People," words and music by Burton Lane and E. Y. Harburg
+
SONGS
"In Times Like These" and "Shicklegruber," words and music by Sammy Fain and E. Y. Harburg
"Heave Ho," words and music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
"Smart to Be People," words and music by Burton Lane and E. Y. Harburg
"Say That We're Sweethearts Again," words and music by Earl Brent
"I'd Like to Recognize the Tune," words and music by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"Meet the People," words and music by Henry Myers and Jay Gorney.
+
DETAILS
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 1 June 1944
New York opening: 7 September 1944
Production Date:
early June--early September 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 March 1944
Copyright Number:
LP175
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
9,017
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9748
SYNOPSIS

As soon as he sees Broadway star Julie Hampton addressing a crowd of Morganville, Delaware shipyard workers during a war bond drive, welder William "Swanee" Swanson falls in love. To meet Julie, who has offered a date to the man who sells the most bonds, Swanee claims to have $7,500 in pledges. Then, to further his own case, Swanee surprises Julie by announcing that she will kiss every man who makes a pledge to him. After hordes of shipyard workers rush to the stage for a kiss from Julie, Swanee wins the contest. For their date, Swanee drives Julie in his rundown car to Inspiration Point. While romancing Julie, Swanee reveals that he is a playwright and has written a working man's musical, Meet the People , with his cousin John, a composer and fighting Marine. Swanee performs the musical's love song for Julie, who is impressed enough to show the play to her producer, Monte Rowland. Monte agrees to stage the musical on condition that costumes and sets from his previous show be used. When Swanee travels to New York to see a dress rehearsal, he is dismayed to discover that Monte and Julie have turned his "everyman" show into a glitzy extravaganza. Disgusted, Swanee declares that, as per his contract, the show must be restaged to his specifications or be canceled. Sure that he can pressure Swanee into changing his mind, Monte cancels the show himself and releases Swanee from his contract. Instead of capitulating, however, Swanee accuses Julie of gross self-promotion and returns to Morganville. Determined to reclaim Meet the People , Julie follows Swanee to Morganville ... +


As soon as he sees Broadway star Julie Hampton addressing a crowd of Morganville, Delaware shipyard workers during a war bond drive, welder William "Swanee" Swanson falls in love. To meet Julie, who has offered a date to the man who sells the most bonds, Swanee claims to have $7,500 in pledges. Then, to further his own case, Swanee surprises Julie by announcing that she will kiss every man who makes a pledge to him. After hordes of shipyard workers rush to the stage for a kiss from Julie, Swanee wins the contest. For their date, Swanee drives Julie in his rundown car to Inspiration Point. While romancing Julie, Swanee reveals that he is a playwright and has written a working man's musical, Meet the People , with his cousin John, a composer and fighting Marine. Swanee performs the musical's love song for Julie, who is impressed enough to show the play to her producer, Monte Rowland. Monte agrees to stage the musical on condition that costumes and sets from his previous show be used. When Swanee travels to New York to see a dress rehearsal, he is dismayed to discover that Monte and Julie have turned his "everyman" show into a glitzy extravaganza. Disgusted, Swanee declares that, as per his contract, the show must be restaged to his specifications or be canceled. Sure that he can pressure Swanee into changing his mind, Monte cancels the show himself and releases Swanee from his contract. Instead of capitulating, however, Swanee accuses Julie of gross self-promotion and returns to Morganville. Determined to reclaim Meet the People , Julie follows Swanee to Morganville and gets a job as a shipyard welder. To her surprise, Julie enjoys her new assignment and quickly makes friends with her starstruck co-workers. While picnicking with Swanee one Sunday, Julie confesses why she came to Morganville, but adds that she now wants to mount Swanee's show so that her needy chorus girl friends will have work. Impressed with Julie's apparent reformation, Swanee resigns with Monte. When he sees Julie posing for publicity photographs in her welding uniform, however, he once again denounces her as a self-serving egotist. Just then, Julie learns that all war jobs have been frozen and that she must remain indefinitely at the shipyard. After she broadcasts a pep talk to her fellow workers, a vengeful Julie tricks Swanee into revealing his true feelings for her while her microphone is still on. Laughed at by his peers, Swanee again accuses Julie of being a selfish hypocrite and storms away. Later, Swanee's uncle Felix confesses that he told John, who is soon returning to Morganville on a medical leave, that Meet the People was a Broadway hit. To help out his uncle, Swanee offers to produce the show as part of the shipyard's upcoming 300th ship celebration. Julie, however, has decided to stage her own star-studded show and refuses to consider doing Meet the People . When John, who has been told by Felix that Julie is doing the show, arrives in her shipyard office to thank her, she sadly tells him the truth. Later, however, she changes her mind and announces she is having an open casting call for Meet the People . Swanee, who for days has been searching for the owner of the shipyard in order to convince him to back Meet the People , returns to town, unaware that his musical is about to open. After a lonely Julie admits to herself that she loves Swanee despite their disagreements, she and Swanee happily reunite on stage for the show's patriotic finale. +

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

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