Meet Danny Wilson (1952)

86 or 88 mins | Drama | February 1952

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HISTORY

According to HR , Universal sponsored a national contest to have the public choose their ten favorite Frank Sinatra songs for inclusion in the film. Other HR news items add Johnny Daheim, Joe Gray, Charles Parker and Leo Garber to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A 16 May 1951 HR news item reports that Shelley Winters was briefly suspended by the studio for refusing to fly immediately from New York to Los Angeles for her costume fittings and screen tests. Unbilled Universal contract players Tony Curtis and Jeff Chandler appear in a brief cameo during a scene in which "Danny" performs drunkenly at a nightclub. The film's final scene was shot on location at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
       Reviewers noted the distracting parallels between "Danny's" rise to fame and Sinatra's own. When the film opened in San Francisco, Sinatra gave a one-day only live performance at the Orpheum theater prior to the start of the picture. Modern sources state that Sinatra fought with Shelley Winters throughout the filming of the picture. Although Meet Danny Wilson was not a box-office success, it gained popularity during a 1954 re-release after Sinatra won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance in From Here to Eternity (see ... More Less

According to HR , Universal sponsored a national contest to have the public choose their ten favorite Frank Sinatra songs for inclusion in the film. Other HR news items add Johnny Daheim, Joe Gray, Charles Parker and Leo Garber to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A 16 May 1951 HR news item reports that Shelley Winters was briefly suspended by the studio for refusing to fly immediately from New York to Los Angeles for her costume fittings and screen tests. Unbilled Universal contract players Tony Curtis and Jeff Chandler appear in a brief cameo during a scene in which "Danny" performs drunkenly at a nightclub. The film's final scene was shot on location at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
       Reviewers noted the distracting parallels between "Danny's" rise to fame and Sinatra's own. When the film opened in San Francisco, Sinatra gave a one-day only live performance at the Orpheum theater prior to the start of the picture. Modern sources state that Sinatra fought with Shelley Winters throughout the filming of the picture. Although Meet Danny Wilson was not a box-office success, it gained popularity during a 1954 re-release after Sinatra won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance in From Here to Eternity (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Jan 1952.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jan 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Jan 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
8 Feb 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Mirror
7 Feb 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Jan 52
p. 1193.
New York Times
27 Mar 52
p. 34.
San Francisco Chronicle
8 Feb 52
p. 11.
Variety
16 Jan 52
p. 6.
Variety
14 Apr 1954.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Palmer Lee
George Eldridge
Sayre Deering
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
DANCE
Mus num staged by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
SONGS
"You're a Sweetheart," words by Harold Adamson, music by Jimmy McHugh
"She's Funny That Way," words by Richard M. Whiting, music by Neil Moret
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find," words and music by Eddie Green
+
SONGS
"You're a Sweetheart," words by Harold Adamson, music by Jimmy McHugh
"She's Funny That Way," words by Richard M. Whiting, music by Neil Moret
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find," words and music by Eddie Green
"That Old Black Magic," words by Johnny Mercer, music by Harold Arlen
"When You're Smiling," words and music by Mark Fisher, Joe Goodwin and Larry Shay
"All of Me," words and music by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks
"I've Got a Crush on You," words by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin
"How Deep Is the Ocean," words and music by Irving Berlin
"Lonesome Man Blues," words and music by Sy Oliver.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 7 February 1952
San Francisco opening: 8 February 1952
Production Date:
late June--31 July 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
30 October 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1313
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86 or 88
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15482
SYNOPSIS

Singer Danny Wilson and his partner, pianist Michael Francis Ryan, struggle to make a name for themselves but are thwarted by low-paying gigs and Danny's penchant for starting fights, which Mike has to finish. After being kicked out of yet another club for fighting, they meet Joy Carroll, a lovely singer, and agree to escort her to a bar so she can get drunk without being bothered by other men. A drunken Danny soon hits a policeman, and he and Mike land in jail. The next morning someone posts bail and leaves them a note to visit mobster Nick Driscoll at his nightclub. There, Nick is duly impressed by Danny's singing talent and offers them a job. Although Mike is concerned when Nick insists on fifty percent of all of Danny's future earnings, Danny convinces him that a bad deal is better than no deal at all, and they start work that night. When Joy stops by before the show, they realize that she is a singer at the club and has arranged both their bail and their job to thank them for helping her. Danny, who is quickly falling in love with Joy, refuses to believe Mike's warning that Nick also loves her. Nick, however, comprehends Danny's feelings immediately, and when the two singers go out after the show, Nick calls Joy's house obsessively until she returns. Over the next year, Danny's star rises, but even after he acquires a recording contract and a show on Broadway, Nick still unfailingly collects half of all of Danny's profits. One day, Mike, Danny and Joy learn that Nick is wanted for a gangland murder and has gone into hiding. Danny ... +


Singer Danny Wilson and his partner, pianist Michael Francis Ryan, struggle to make a name for themselves but are thwarted by low-paying gigs and Danny's penchant for starting fights, which Mike has to finish. After being kicked out of yet another club for fighting, they meet Joy Carroll, a lovely singer, and agree to escort her to a bar so she can get drunk without being bothered by other men. A drunken Danny soon hits a policeman, and he and Mike land in jail. The next morning someone posts bail and leaves them a note to visit mobster Nick Driscoll at his nightclub. There, Nick is duly impressed by Danny's singing talent and offers them a job. Although Mike is concerned when Nick insists on fifty percent of all of Danny's future earnings, Danny convinces him that a bad deal is better than no deal at all, and they start work that night. When Joy stops by before the show, they realize that she is a singer at the club and has arranged both their bail and their job to thank them for helping her. Danny, who is quickly falling in love with Joy, refuses to believe Mike's warning that Nick also loves her. Nick, however, comprehends Danny's feelings immediately, and when the two singers go out after the show, Nick calls Joy's house obsessively until she returns. Over the next year, Danny's star rises, but even after he acquires a recording contract and a show on Broadway, Nick still unfailingly collects half of all of Danny's profits. One day, Mike, Danny and Joy learn that Nick is wanted for a gangland murder and has gone into hiding. Danny wants to use the opportunity to welsh on their deal, but Mike refuses to go back on his word to Nick. Danny, who has become spoiled by his sudden fame, picks a fight with street thugs, which Mike has to join. As Joy tends to Mike's wounds, she reveals that she loves him, not Danny. Although Mike admits he loves her too, he explains that he could never steal her away from his best friend, causing Joy to storm out. Weeks later, while Danny is acting in a Hollywood movie, Joy refuses to answer his phone calls. Seeing Danny grow more desperate, Mike calls Joy and convinces her to visit for his sake. That night, when she attends a party in Danny's honor, he announces to the crowd that they are engaged, without securing a response from her. She leaves over his objections but returns later that night to Mike's hotel room. She informs Mike that she cannot stay with them unless he returns her love, but just as he embraces her, Danny enters the room. He bitterly denounces them and spends the next days in drunken stupor, at one point appearing at a benefit show too intoxicated to sing. Days later, Mike signs the contract release that Danny's lawyer has drawn up for him and tells Danny that he has become a mean, small person. Just then, Nick arrives to collect his money, which Danny has already spent. When Danny attacks Nick, Mike jumps in front of him just as Nick pulls out a gun and shoots. Nick informs Danny that he must bring the money to the local baseball field that night, and runs out. At the hospital, while they wait fearfully to hear Mike's prognosis, Joy informs Danny that the whole romantic situation was her fault. Danny realizes he may lose the only friend he ever really had. He races to the ballpark and engages Nick in a gunfight, which ends when the police, who have followed Danny from the hospital, shoot Nick down. Months later, the newly married Mike and Joy accompany a delighted Danny to his appearance at the London Palladium. +

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.