Centennial Summer (1946)

103 mins | Musical | August 1946

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writer:

Michael Kanin

Producer:

Otto Preminger

Cinematographer:

Ernest Palmer

Editor:

Harry Reynolds

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller

Production Company:

Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's title card reads, "Jerome Kern's Centennial Summer ." When Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Albert E. Idell's best seller in 1943, it apparently did not intend to make the property as a musical, as indicated by early 1944 screenplays in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library. By late 1944, however, the project had been turned into a musical. According to documents in the Jerome Kern file of the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also located at UCLA, Kern was contracted in late Jan 1945 to supply the music for ten songs for $100,000. With Kern's approval, Leo Robin was engaged to write lyrics. Robin's fee was $40,000. According to a modern source, friction developed between Robin and Kern, because the lyricist was taking too much time. Both Oscar Hammerstein II and E. Y. Harburg were subsequently assigned to contribute lyrics to keep the project on schedule. One song written for the film, "Duettino," was not used, but was later published as "Two Hearts Are Better Than One," with lyrics credited to Robin. However, studio documents credit Johnny Mercer with the song's lyrics. Alfred Newman received an Academy Award nomination for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture for Centennial Summer , and "All Through the Day" received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. While the film was still shooting, Kern died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 11 Nov 1945. Avon Long, who performs the "Cinderella Sue" number, had previously appeared in Kern's Broadway production, Very Warm for May ... More Less

The film's title card reads, "Jerome Kern's Centennial Summer ." When Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Albert E. Idell's best seller in 1943, it apparently did not intend to make the property as a musical, as indicated by early 1944 screenplays in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library. By late 1944, however, the project had been turned into a musical. According to documents in the Jerome Kern file of the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also located at UCLA, Kern was contracted in late Jan 1945 to supply the music for ten songs for $100,000. With Kern's approval, Leo Robin was engaged to write lyrics. Robin's fee was $40,000. According to a modern source, friction developed between Robin and Kern, because the lyricist was taking too much time. Both Oscar Hammerstein II and E. Y. Harburg were subsequently assigned to contribute lyrics to keep the project on schedule. One song written for the film, "Duettino," was not used, but was later published as "Two Hearts Are Better Than One," with lyrics credited to Robin. However, studio documents credit Johnny Mercer with the song's lyrics. Alfred Newman received an Academy Award nomination for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture for Centennial Summer , and "All Through the Day" received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. While the film was still shooting, Kern died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 11 Nov 1945. Avon Long, who performs the "Cinderella Sue" number, had previously appeared in Kern's Broadway production, Very Warm for May . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Jun 1946.
---
Daily Variety
27 May 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 May 46
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 45
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 46
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Mar 46
p. 2884.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Jun 46
p. 3030.
New York Times
18 Jul 46
p. 20.
Variety
29 May 46
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch arr
Orch arr
Orch arr
Orch arr
Orch arr
SOUND
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Transparencies
Transparencies
Transparencies
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Research dir
Asst research
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Jeanne Crain
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor director
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Centennial Summer by Albert E. Idell (New York, 1943).
SONGS
"Centennial," "Free America," "Railroad Song," "The Right Romance," "Up with the Lark" and "In Love in Vain" music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Leo Robin
"All Through the Day," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
"Cinderella Sue," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Jerome Kern's Centennial Summer
Release Date:
August 1946
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Philadelphia, PA: 10 July 1946
New York opening: 17 July 1946
Production Date:
early September--early November 1945
retakes and addl scenes December 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
10 July 1946
Copyright Number:
LP568
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
103
Length(in feet):
9,263
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11284
SYNOPSIS

In 1876, Philadelphia is celebrating the birth of the United States with the opening of the Centennial Exposition. Jesse Rogers, his wife Harriet and four children, older daughters, Julia and Edith, and two younger children, Susanna and Dudley, hope to attend several of the events, but their plans are threatened when Jesse spends the family savings on an invention. Jesse, who works for a railroad company, is designing a collection of clocks which indicate all the different time zones and intends to present his invention to the railroad's president, Mr. Trowbridge, as an aid to running the company more efficiently. The family receives an urgent carrier letter from Aunt Zenia, Harriet's sister, announcing that she is coming from France to visit. Zenia, whom Jesse meets for the first time at the railroad station, is accompanied by her nephew Philippe, who is in charge of the French government's pavilion at the Exposition. While waiting for her father outside railroad superintendent Snodgrass' office, Julia overhears Snodgrass criticizing Jesse for bypassing him and trying to ship his clock invention directly to Trowbridge. Snodgrass then demotes Jesse to the night shift. Later, Jesse tells Harriet that he has deliberately changed his work schedule in order to accompany the family and guests to the Exposition. While there, they all visit the French pavilion, which is in great disarray and not yet open. As Philippe is distraught, Julia, who like Edith is attracted to him, speaks French and offers to work for him. Meanwhile, Zenia realizes that the family is putting up a front and intends to find a way to help them. Edith, who wants to see the world rather than settle down and ... +


In 1876, Philadelphia is celebrating the birth of the United States with the opening of the Centennial Exposition. Jesse Rogers, his wife Harriet and four children, older daughters, Julia and Edith, and two younger children, Susanna and Dudley, hope to attend several of the events, but their plans are threatened when Jesse spends the family savings on an invention. Jesse, who works for a railroad company, is designing a collection of clocks which indicate all the different time zones and intends to present his invention to the railroad's president, Mr. Trowbridge, as an aid to running the company more efficiently. The family receives an urgent carrier letter from Aunt Zenia, Harriet's sister, announcing that she is coming from France to visit. Zenia, whom Jesse meets for the first time at the railroad station, is accompanied by her nephew Philippe, who is in charge of the French government's pavilion at the Exposition. While waiting for her father outside railroad superintendent Snodgrass' office, Julia overhears Snodgrass criticizing Jesse for bypassing him and trying to ship his clock invention directly to Trowbridge. Snodgrass then demotes Jesse to the night shift. Later, Jesse tells Harriet that he has deliberately changed his work schedule in order to accompany the family and guests to the Exposition. While there, they all visit the French pavilion, which is in great disarray and not yet open. As Philippe is distraught, Julia, who like Edith is attracted to him, speaks French and offers to work for him. Meanwhile, Zenia realizes that the family is putting up a front and intends to find a way to help them. Edith, who wants to see the world rather than settle down and marry Benjamin Franklin Phelps, the obstetrician who is courting her, visits Philippe and attempts to arouse his interest in her and tells him that Ben is Julia's fiancé. Later, when Philippe invites Edith out for the evening, Julia and Ben try to recover their respective sweethearts and go to the same restaurant. Julia then asks Ben to accompany Philippe and Edith to the theater, while she goes to the railroad yard to talk over the family's fortunes with her father. Julia offers Jesse her salary, but he declines her help and, realizing that she is in love with Philippe, suggests that she no longer accept a salary from him. Meanwhile, Zenia begins romancing Trowbridge. After Philippe reminisces with Julia about "his" Paris, she suggests that the pavilion be redesigned to reflect more of the spirit of France. Philippe agrees and, a week later, the pavilion is ready to open with a formal ball. Philippe still thinks that Julia is engaged to Ben and therefore is not romantic with her, which prompts Julia to tell Edith that she has won the Frenchman's heart. The next evening, Edith plays hostess at the opening of the pavilion. At the ball, Zenia introduces Jesse to Trowbridge. Zenia, who has been promoting Jesse as a brilliant inventor/entrepreneur, advises him on how to handle negotiations for the purchase of his ideas. Suspecting that Zenia is trying to seduce Jesse, Harriet leaves the ball and returns home. Jesse is dining with Trowbridge when Snodgrass shows up and reveals that he is one of Trowbridge's minor employees. After Jesse leaves in embarrassment, Philippe tells Edith that he is in love with Julia, and she admits that Ben is in love with her. However, the heartbroken Julia has left town to spend some time at her grandmother's, so when Philippe cannot find her, he and Jesse get drunk together. Jesse finally reveals Julia's whereabouts. After Snodgrass finds Jesse drunk on the job, he fires him. Julia and Philippe eventually get together, and Edith decides to revive Ben's interest, and goes to see him at his office. Assuming that she has come on a professional visit as a result of her involvement with Philippe, Ben offers to marry her and she accepts. Harriet and Zenia then have a squabble over Jesse. Later that day, Jesse and the entire Rogers family go to the train station to see Zenia off. Snodgrass approaches Jesse and apologizes, saying that Trowbridge has told him that the company intends to buy his invention and hire him to perfect it. All this appears to have been engineered by Zenia, whose new beau, Trowbridge, is waiting on board the train to accompany her to her next destination. +

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

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