Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949)

93 mins | Musical, Biography | November 1949

Full page view
HISTORY

In the film's opening credits, June Haver receives billing over Mark Stevens, but in the cast list at the end the situation is reversed. Although Ernest Palmer is listed on HR production charts as the film's director of photography and James B. Clark is listed as the film editor, Henry Jackson and Louis Loeffler are credited, respectively, in those positions in the screen credits. According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox, Records of the Legal Department Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio bought an original, unpublished, uncopyrighted preliminary treatment entitled "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" from Albert and Arthur Lewis in Jul 1948. The Lewises had previously acquired rights to the Fred Fisher story from his widow, Mrs. Anna Fisher Berrens. The studio paid the Lewises $50,000 and Mrs. Fisher $65,000. Writer Virginia Van Upp was briefly involved in the writing of the screenplay but, according to studio documents, no part of her version was used. According to a Twentieth Century-Fox publicity release in the AMPAS Library, June Haver played piano for the first time onscreen. As a child, Haver won three successive Cincinnati musical contests and had played the Haydn Surprise Symphony with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. This was veteran director John M. Stahl's first musical and his next-to-last film. According to studio publicity, producer George Jessel arranged for Al Jolson to record the lines used in the telephone conversation in the film. Certain Twentieth Century-Fox cast lists include Eula Morgan, Edward Clark and Maurice Samuels in the cast but their appearance in the final film is doubtful. The title song was not written by Fisher, but by Nat. D. Ayer and A. ... More Less

In the film's opening credits, June Haver receives billing over Mark Stevens, but in the cast list at the end the situation is reversed. Although Ernest Palmer is listed on HR production charts as the film's director of photography and James B. Clark is listed as the film editor, Henry Jackson and Louis Loeffler are credited, respectively, in those positions in the screen credits. According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox, Records of the Legal Department Collection at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio bought an original, unpublished, uncopyrighted preliminary treatment entitled "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" from Albert and Arthur Lewis in Jul 1948. The Lewises had previously acquired rights to the Fred Fisher story from his widow, Mrs. Anna Fisher Berrens. The studio paid the Lewises $50,000 and Mrs. Fisher $65,000. Writer Virginia Van Upp was briefly involved in the writing of the screenplay but, according to studio documents, no part of her version was used. According to a Twentieth Century-Fox publicity release in the AMPAS Library, June Haver played piano for the first time onscreen. As a child, Haver won three successive Cincinnati musical contests and had played the Haydn Surprise Symphony with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. This was veteran director John M. Stahl's first musical and his next-to-last film. According to studio publicity, producer George Jessel arranged for Al Jolson to record the lines used in the telephone conversation in the film. Certain Twentieth Century-Fox cast lists include Eula Morgan, Edward Clark and Maurice Samuels in the cast but their appearance in the final film is doubtful. The title song was not written by Fisher, but by Nat. D. Ayer and A. Seymour Brown. Abel Green, who reviewed the film for Var , knew the Fishers and wrote that, apart from the correct use of their names, "The rest is 100% fiction." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Sep 1949.
---
Daily Variety
16 Sep 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Sep 49
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Sep 49
p. 28.
New York Times
12 Nov 49
p. 8.
Variety
21 Sep 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Piano coach for Mr. Sakall
STAND INS
Singing double for Mark Stevens
Singing double for June Haver
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor color consultant
SOURCES
MUSIC
Rondo capriccioso , Opus 14 by Felix Mendelssohn.
SONGS
"Peg O' My Heart," "Come, Josephine, in My Flying Machine" and "Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle?" music by Fred Fisher, lyrics by Alfred Bryan
"I Want You to Want Me," music by Fred Fisher, lyrics by Alfred Bryan and Bob Schafer
"Ireland Must Be Heaven for My Mother Came from There," music and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, Howard Johnson and Fred Fisher
+
SONGS
"Peg O' My Heart," "Come, Josephine, in My Flying Machine" and "Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle?" music by Fred Fisher, lyrics by Alfred Bryan
"I Want You to Want Me," music by Fred Fisher, lyrics by Alfred Bryan and Bob Schafer
"Ireland Must Be Heaven for My Mother Came from There," music and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, Howard Johnson and Fred Fisher
"When I Get You Alone Tonight," music by Fred Fisher, lyrics by Joseph McCarthy and Joe Goodwin
"There's a Broken Heart for Every Light on Broadway," music by Fred Fisher, lyrics by Howard Johnson
"Dardanella," music and lyrics by Fred Fisher, Felix Bernard and Johnny S. Black
"Daddy, You've Been a Mother to Me," music and lyrics by Fred Fisher, German lyrics by Clara Bing and Ferdinand Kahn
"Chicago (That Toddling Town)," music and lyrics by Fred Fisher
"Oh, You Beautiful Doll," music by Nat D. Ayer, lyrics by A. Seymour Brown.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 November 1949
Production Date:
late December 1948--early March 1949
retakes and addl scenes in April and May 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 October 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2692
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in feet):
8,417
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13531
SYNOPSIS

In his "Four-to-a-Bar" saloon, Lippy Brannigan reminisces about the old days when many major song writers used to frequent the New York saloon. As the newly revived song "Peg O' My Heart" plays on the juke box, Lippy tells a reporter about the song's composer, Fred Fisher: Back in the early 1900s, a young song-plugger, Larry Kelly, comes into Lippy's recently opened saloon with promotional materials for one of the songs he is plugging, "Oh, You Beautiful Doll," currently being performed by Marie Carle at a local vaudeville house. Another customer picks a fight with him, but Larry throws him out onto the sidewalk, where he collides with passing classical musician Alfred Breitenbach. Alfred is on his way to attend a luncheon being given for Gottfried Steiner, conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra, which is about to leave on a European tour. At the luncheon, Steiner invites Alfred to play some selections from his new opera, but he is interrupted when Zaltz, another guest who has been showing off a ring that once belonged to Johann Strauss, suddenly discovers it is missing. When each guest is asked to turn out his pockets, Alfred gets up from the piano and leaves the dining room. He explains to Steiner that he could not turn out his pockets as he is so impoverished that he had food from the luncheon in them. Steiner, whom Alfred's father had once helped, promises to help him when he returns from his tour. At home, Alfred tells his wife Anna, who takes in sewing to help make ends meet, that the performance at the luncheon was a great success. Soon after, Larry comes to return ... +


In his "Four-to-a-Bar" saloon, Lippy Brannigan reminisces about the old days when many major song writers used to frequent the New York saloon. As the newly revived song "Peg O' My Heart" plays on the juke box, Lippy tells a reporter about the song's composer, Fred Fisher: Back in the early 1900s, a young song-plugger, Larry Kelly, comes into Lippy's recently opened saloon with promotional materials for one of the songs he is plugging, "Oh, You Beautiful Doll," currently being performed by Marie Carle at a local vaudeville house. Another customer picks a fight with him, but Larry throws him out onto the sidewalk, where he collides with passing classical musician Alfred Breitenbach. Alfred is on his way to attend a luncheon being given for Gottfried Steiner, conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra, which is about to leave on a European tour. At the luncheon, Steiner invites Alfred to play some selections from his new opera, but he is interrupted when Zaltz, another guest who has been showing off a ring that once belonged to Johann Strauss, suddenly discovers it is missing. When each guest is asked to turn out his pockets, Alfred gets up from the piano and leaves the dining room. He explains to Steiner that he could not turn out his pockets as he is so impoverished that he had food from the luncheon in them. Steiner, whom Alfred's father had once helped, promises to help him when he returns from his tour. At home, Alfred tells his wife Anna, who takes in sewing to help make ends meet, that the performance at the luncheon was a great success. Soon after, Larry comes to return a letter Alfred dropped in the confusion outside the saloon and also to recover a pawn ticket he had mistakenly given him. Larry meets Alfred and Anna's daughter Doris, who later attends a performance at the theater where "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" is being promoted and, from the audience, joins in the singing. Larry spots her and invites her to join him for a meal. He learns that she is a classical violinist and pianist and suggests that one of her father's compositions might be adaptable for the popular music market. Doris becomes very interested in Larry, but discovers he is very friendly with Marie Carle. After Doris plays part of her father's operatic score for Larry on a piano, she tells her father that Larry is going to write lyrics for his music. Doris and Larry perform the first song in front of her parents at Volk's Casino. When music publisher Ted Held tells Alfred and Larry that the song will be a big hit, Alfred does not want it published under his real name and chooses a pseudonym, Fred Fisher, from a brewery calendar. Larry and Alfred continue to collaborate, and the earnings from their songs enable the Breitenbachs to move to a larger house. Later, at a small dinner party, Larry arrives with Marie but later explains to Doris that he and Marie are simply business associates and that, when Doris is a little older, he intends to marry her. Steiner then returns from Europe and tells Alfred that he is looking forward to seeing his opera performed. Embarrassed, Alfred explains his new prosperity by saying that his wife's uncle left them some money. Although Larry has written several more songs based on Alfred's operatic score, Alfred refuses to work on any more on popular music. Later, in an effort to get his new song in front of the public, Larry phones Al Jolson and convinces him to introduce it. Larry then is arrested for breaking street lights to plug the song, "There's a Broken Heart for Every Light on Broadway." When Alfred goes to help Larry, he, too, winds up behind bars and a photo of them appears in a newspaper. Alfred disappears, leaving Anna a note that he is going to rewrite his opera and forget "Fred Fisher." Doris and Larry try to find him, but he is hiding out in a hotel in Hoboken. Desperate, Doris goes to see Steiner, who offers to perform Alfred's music as a way of drawing him out. Meanwhile, Alfred has broken the window of a music store whose loudspeaker was featuring his songs, and among the shattered remains, Alfred sees a poster for Steiner's Mayolian Hall concert featuring his music. Lippy and Held patrol the front of the hall and spot Alfred arriving late, and although Alfred doesn't identify himself he is given a special box seat. Steiner introduces Alfred's music by telling the audience that they may not recognize the name Breitenbach, but that he is known to all of them as one of America's greatest melody writers, Fred Fisher. As the orchestra performs a potpourri of his popular music, Anna joins Alfred in the box, while Doris and Larry join the orchestra. Afterward, Alfred takes a bow. +

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.