Somebody Loves Me (1952)

95 or 97 mins | Musical | October 1952

Director:

Irving Brecher

Writer:

Irving Brecher

Cinematographer:

George Barnes

Editor:

Frank Bracht

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Earl Hedrick

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

As noted in the onscreen credits, Somebody Loves Me was suggested by the careers of Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields. In an Aug 1952 LAT interview, Seeley and Fields, who served as technical advisors on the picture, claimed that the story was "99 3/4% accurate." Seeley (1891--1974) started in vaudeville at the age of ten, making a name for herself singing and dancing in an animated, sultry style. In 1911, she opened on Broadway with Lew Fields, a vaudevillian with whom she teamed for many years. Her first two husbands, who are not mentioned in the film, were theatrical manager Joseph Kane, whom she divorced in 1913, and Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Marquard. In 1921, Seeley saw Benny Fields [no relation to Lew] (1894--1959) at an inn in Chicago (not New Jersey, as depicted in the film), performing in the trio Fields, Davis & Salisbury. Seeley and Fields began performing together and, in 1922, married.
       As depicted in the film, despite being part of a duo, Seeley was always billed as the star of the act. In 1936, after Fields had established a successful solo career, Seeley dropped out of show business in deference to her husband. Seeley and Fields, who is often described as the original "crooner," appeared together in the 1933 independent film Mr. Broadway (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Mr. Broadway was Seeley's final feature; Fields had roles in two other films, including the starring role in PRC's 1944 release Mr. Minstrel Man (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). According to the ... More Less

As noted in the onscreen credits, Somebody Loves Me was suggested by the careers of Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields. In an Aug 1952 LAT interview, Seeley and Fields, who served as technical advisors on the picture, claimed that the story was "99 3/4% accurate." Seeley (1891--1974) started in vaudeville at the age of ten, making a name for herself singing and dancing in an animated, sultry style. In 1911, she opened on Broadway with Lew Fields, a vaudevillian with whom she teamed for many years. Her first two husbands, who are not mentioned in the film, were theatrical manager Joseph Kane, whom she divorced in 1913, and Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Marquard. In 1921, Seeley saw Benny Fields [no relation to Lew] (1894--1959) at an inn in Chicago (not New Jersey, as depicted in the film), performing in the trio Fields, Davis & Salisbury. Seeley and Fields began performing together and, in 1922, married.
       As depicted in the film, despite being part of a duo, Seeley was always billed as the star of the act. In 1936, after Fields had established a successful solo career, Seeley dropped out of show business in deference to her husband. Seeley and Fields, who is often described as the original "crooner," appeared together in the 1933 independent film Mr. Broadway (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Mr. Broadway was Seeley's final feature; Fields had roles in two other films, including the starring role in PRC's 1944 release Mr. Minstrel Man (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). According to the LAT interview, Seeley and Fields recorded the musical numbers for Somebody Loves Me so that Hutton could study Seeley's style. Modern sources note that Seeley came out of retirement to make these recordings, which were released commercially, and then performed live with Fields at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. Seeley and Fields also performed on television many times, becoming regulars on The Ed Sullivan Show . "Somebody Loves Me" was one of Seeley's signature songs.
       Somebody Loves Me marked Jack Benny's first feature film appearance since a guest role in the 1946 RKO release Without Reservations (see AFI Catalog of Feature films, 1941-50 ). Paramount borrowed Ralph Meeker from M-G-M for the role of "Benny." Modern sources state that Hutton wanted Frank Sinatra for the role but was overruled because Sinatra's career was in a decline at the time. Choreographer Charles O'Curran, who also appears in the picture as a French soldier, was Hutton's husband at the time of production. Although The Greatest Show on Earth , which co-starred Hutton (see above entry), had its national release shortly after Somebody Loves Me , Somebody Loves Me marked Hutton's last major film, although her final screen role was in the 1957 United Artists release Spring Reunion (See Entry). According to modern sources, Hutton terminated her contract at Paramount in 1952 because the studio refused to give in to her demand that O'Curran be allowed to direct her pictures. A HR news item adds Eddie Borden to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. On 27 Apr 1953, Hutton appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the story, co-starring Gene Barry. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Aug 1952.
---
Daily Variety
20 Aug 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Aug 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
10 Aug 52
p. 1, 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Aug 52
pp. 1501-02.
New York Times
24 Sep 52
p. 38.
New York Times
25 Sep 52
p. 38.
Newsweek
6 Oct 1952.
---
Time
29 Sep 1952.
---
Variety
20 Aug 52
p. 6.
Variety
19 Aug 1959.
---
Variety
24 Apr 1974.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Herbert Vigran
Kenneth R. MacDonald
James Cross
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
The Perlberg-Seaton Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed consultant
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Prod mgr
Tech adv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Ralph Meeker
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Somebody Loves Me," words by B. G. DeSylva and Ballard MacDonald, music by George Gershwin
"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," words and music by Henry Creamer and J. Turner Layton
"I Cried for You," words and music by Arthur Freed, Gus Arnheim and Abe Lyman
+
SONGS
"Somebody Loves Me," words by B. G. DeSylva and Ballard MacDonald, music by George Gershwin
"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," words and music by Henry Creamer and J. Turner Layton
"I Cried for You," words and music by Arthur Freed, Gus Arnheim and Abe Lyman
"Smiles," words by J. Will Callahan, music by Lee G. Roberts
"I'm Sorry I Made You Cry," words and music by N. J. Clesi
"Jealous," words by Tommie Malie and Dick Finch, music by Jack Little
"Toddling the Todalo" and "June," words by E. Ray Goetz, music by A. Baldwin Sloane
"You've Got Me Crying Again," words by Charles Newman, music by Isham Jones
"Rose Room," words by Harry Williams, music by Art Hickman
"Teasing Rag," words and music by Joe Jordan
"Dixie Dreams," words and music by Arthur Johnston, George W. Meyer, Grant Clarke and Roy Turk
"The Wang Wang Blues," words and music by Gus Mueller
"On San Francisco Bay," words by Vincent P. Bryan, music by Gertrude Hoffman
"Love Him," "Thanks to You" and "Honey, Oh My Honey," words and music by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
"A Dollar and Thirty Cents," composer undetermined.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 September 1952
Los Angeles opening: 15 October 1952
Production Date:
late August--late October 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 October 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2070
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
95 or 97
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15635
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1906, in a San Francisco cabaret, young, enthusiastic performer Blossom Seeley struggles to impress her drunken audience, and is advised by an older patron to sing more softly. Blossom instead belts out her next number, but is interrupted by the shaking of a powerful earthquake. During the rumbling, the old man gives Blossom his calling card, and she is stunned to discover he is famous theatrical producer "Pop" Grauman. Later, after the city begins to recover, Blossom prepares for her appearance in one of Pop's vaudeville shows. Just before the opening, however, the show's haughty star, Nola Beech, demands she be given Blossom's best number. Blossom protests Nola's selfishness to no avail, but as Nola is singing the number, Blossom's friend, former stripper Essie, coaxes the show's chimpanzee to eat a banana on the train of Nola's dress. The audience roars with laughter, and after Nola storms off, humiliated, Blossom takes her place. Performing with her characteristic liveliness, Blossom is a hit, and her career takes off. After World War I, the now-wealthy Blossom tells her agent, Sam Doyle, that she wants to incorporate other performers in her act so she can change costumes between numbers. Sam is reluctant to alter Blossom's successful act, but accompanies her to Hoboken, New Jersey, to hear the trio Forrest, Lake and Fields. Blossom is immediately attracted to the trio's young singer, Benny Fields, and offers to hire the three for her new Broadway revue. Neil Forrest and Harry Lake jump at the chance, but Benny, aware of Blossom's infatuation with him, acts nonchalant. Blossom's revamped show is a hit, but Forrest and Lake infuriate ... +


In 1906, in a San Francisco cabaret, young, enthusiastic performer Blossom Seeley struggles to impress her drunken audience, and is advised by an older patron to sing more softly. Blossom instead belts out her next number, but is interrupted by the shaking of a powerful earthquake. During the rumbling, the old man gives Blossom his calling card, and she is stunned to discover he is famous theatrical producer "Pop" Grauman. Later, after the city begins to recover, Blossom prepares for her appearance in one of Pop's vaudeville shows. Just before the opening, however, the show's haughty star, Nola Beech, demands she be given Blossom's best number. Blossom protests Nola's selfishness to no avail, but as Nola is singing the number, Blossom's friend, former stripper Essie, coaxes the show's chimpanzee to eat a banana on the train of Nola's dress. The audience roars with laughter, and after Nola storms off, humiliated, Blossom takes her place. Performing with her characteristic liveliness, Blossom is a hit, and her career takes off. After World War I, the now-wealthy Blossom tells her agent, Sam Doyle, that she wants to incorporate other performers in her act so she can change costumes between numbers. Sam is reluctant to alter Blossom's successful act, but accompanies her to Hoboken, New Jersey, to hear the trio Forrest, Lake and Fields. Blossom is immediately attracted to the trio's young singer, Benny Fields, and offers to hire the three for her new Broadway revue. Neil Forrest and Harry Lake jump at the chance, but Benny, aware of Blossom's infatuation with him, acts nonchalant. Blossom's revamped show is a hit, but Forrest and Lake infuriate the singer when they insist on performing their own encore. After Blossom upbraids them for overstepping their bounds, Forrest and Lake quit in protest. Benny then becomes Blossom's accompanist, using her affections for him to his own advantage. One night, after Benny tricks her into singing "Jealous" for her encore, Blossom finally explodes in frustration. Just as Blossom is about to fire him, however, Benny proposes marriage. Blossom accepts, and the husband-and-wife team play many concert dates. Eventually, Blossom's voice gives out, and she realizes she must stop singing and take a vacation. While Blossom is recuperating at a resort, Benny overhears some men in his New York barbershop discussing gigolos. Recognizing himself in their comments, Benny bolts from the shop and announces to Sam that he is going to see Blossom. Blossom is delighted by Benny's unexpected visit, until he informs her that he is leaving her. Benny explains that while he did not love her when they married, he has since fallen in love and wants to prove himself as a man. Though heartbroken, Blossom accepts Benny's promise that he will return to her once he has made a name for himself. Benny's solo career does not take off, however, and Blossom, mourning his absence, quits her latest Broadway show. One day, while Benny is appearing in a dreary San Francisco vaudeville house, playing a stooge, Sam, who is deeply concerned about Blossom's mental and financial state, visits and lectures him about being a good husband. Taking Sam's words to heart, Benny returns to Blossom and declares that he is quitting show business. Blossom convinces him to find a good style instead and offers to coach him, agreeing that she will not use her influence to get him a job once he is ready to perform. Blossom then shows Benny how to spice up his singing with some dance steps and a hat and cane. Despite Blossom's rigorous training, Benny searches fruitlessly for a job until an old friend of Blossom's hires him to sing in his Chicago club. On opening night, Benny's joyous anticipation turns to anger when he learns that Blossom made an agreement with the club's owner to go on if Benny's act was a flop. Benny confronts Blossom and she confesses that she did indeed get him the job. Enraged, Benny vows to be a hit just to spite her, then puts on a dazzling show. When Sam tells Benny that Blossom had been planning all along to quit show business if Benny were a hit, however, Benny forgives her and invites her onstage for his encore. After Blossom announces she is retiring to become "Mrs. Benny Fields," she and Benny sing "Somebody Loves Me" and kiss. +

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

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