Song of the Open Road (1944)

93 mins | Drama | 1944

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HISTORY

This picture marked Jane Powell's screen debut, and according to a Jan 1944 news item, M-G-M lent the fourteen-year-old actress to Charles R. Rogers' company under the proviso that he build up her musical numbers and feature her in the advertising campaign. The film had its premiere in Portland, OR, Powell's hometown. HR news items yield the following information about this production: Locations were shot at the Pyramid Date Gardens in Palm Springs, CA, and the Pan Pacific Auditorium parking lot in Los Angeles, CA. Although HR news items add Jeanne Johnston, Betty Arnold, Barbara Coleman, Al Kunde, Evelyn Moriarity, Catherine Guy, Olga Vilner, Gregg Rhinelander, Lorraine DeWood, Frank Scannell, Sid Tomack, Edward Gargan, Hugh Beaumont, Jean Stern, Eric Sinclair and Jeanne Newport to the cast, their appearance has not been confirmed. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Score and the song "Too Much in Love" was nominated for Best ... More Less

This picture marked Jane Powell's screen debut, and according to a Jan 1944 news item, M-G-M lent the fourteen-year-old actress to Charles R. Rogers' company under the proviso that he build up her musical numbers and feature her in the advertising campaign. The film had its premiere in Portland, OR, Powell's hometown. HR news items yield the following information about this production: Locations were shot at the Pyramid Date Gardens in Palm Springs, CA, and the Pan Pacific Auditorium parking lot in Los Angeles, CA. Although HR news items add Jeanne Johnston, Betty Arnold, Barbara Coleman, Al Kunde, Evelyn Moriarity, Catherine Guy, Olga Vilner, Gregg Rhinelander, Lorraine DeWood, Frank Scannell, Sid Tomack, Edward Gargan, Hugh Beaumont, Jean Stern, Eric Sinclair and Jeanne Newport to the cast, their appearance has not been confirmed. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Score and the song "Too Much in Love" was nominated for Best Song. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 May 1944.
---
Daily Variety
28 Apr 44
pp. 3, 12
Film Daily
3 May 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 43
p. 2, 7
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 44
p. 31.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 44
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 44
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 44
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Jan 44
p. 1695.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Apr 44
p. 1866.
New York Times
7 Jun 44
p. 13.
Variety
3 May 44
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Asst to prod
WRITERS
Based on a story by
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus pres
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Pub dir
STAND INS
Whistling double for Jane Powell
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Hawaiian War Chant (Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai)," music by by Johnny Noble and Leleiohaku.
SONGS
"Rollin' Down the Road," "Here It Is Monday," "Too Much in Love," "You've Gotta Make Hay in the Moonlight," "Delightfully Dangerous" and "Havin' Fun in the Sun," music by Walter Kent, lyrics by Kim Gannon
"Carmena," composer undetermined.
DETAILS
Premiere Information:
Portland, OR premiere: 2 June 1944
New York opening: 6 June 1944
Production Date:
22 November 1943--early February 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Charles R. Rogers Talking Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 June 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12729
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in feet):
8,354
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9916
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In appreciation for starring in a commercial promoting the United States Crops Corps, a brigade of teenagers that travel California by bicycle picking crops, teenage movie star Jane Powell is presented with a membership card to the American Youth Hostels, a chain of residences that shelter the itinerant pickers. The members of the corps are on their way to Salinas to pick crops when Jane invites them to watch her filming her latest feature. After Jane finishes her scene, she tries to leave with her newfound friends, but her chores with the still photographer keep her behind. When Jane's domineering mother dismisses the youngsters, they peddle away on their bicycles and Jane feels lonely and forlorn. Soon after, Jane wins the lead in a new picture, and her mother cancels the long-awaited vacation she has promised her daughter. After accusing her mother of failing to understand her needs, Jane decides to run away and join her friends in Salinas. Jane cuts her long blonde locks, dies her hair brown and hitches a ride with her bicycle to Salinas. At the hostel there, Jane introduces herself as "Jane Price" and is greeted by Jack Moran, who makes the daily assignments, and his girl friend Bonnie. Anxious to please, Jane volunteers to repair the bicycles and the water pump, although she possesses no mechanical ability. Meanwhile, Mrs. Powell, alarmed at her daughter's absence, enlists Connors, a representative of the American Youth Hostels, to help find Jane. When the girl's tutor, Miss Caspar, confides to Connors her concern that Jane is being deprived of her childhood by her demanding mother, the two conspire to prevent ... +


In appreciation for starring in a commercial promoting the United States Crops Corps, a brigade of teenagers that travel California by bicycle picking crops, teenage movie star Jane Powell is presented with a membership card to the American Youth Hostels, a chain of residences that shelter the itinerant pickers. The members of the corps are on their way to Salinas to pick crops when Jane invites them to watch her filming her latest feature. After Jane finishes her scene, she tries to leave with her newfound friends, but her chores with the still photographer keep her behind. When Jane's domineering mother dismisses the youngsters, they peddle away on their bicycles and Jane feels lonely and forlorn. Soon after, Jane wins the lead in a new picture, and her mother cancels the long-awaited vacation she has promised her daughter. After accusing her mother of failing to understand her needs, Jane decides to run away and join her friends in Salinas. Jane cuts her long blonde locks, dies her hair brown and hitches a ride with her bicycle to Salinas. At the hostel there, Jane introduces herself as "Jane Price" and is greeted by Jack Moran, who makes the daily assignments, and his girl friend Bonnie. Anxious to please, Jane volunteers to repair the bicycles and the water pump, although she possesses no mechanical ability. Meanwhile, Mrs. Powell, alarmed at her daughter's absence, enlists Connors, a representative of the American Youth Hostels, to help find Jane. When the girl's tutor, Miss Caspar, confides to Connors her concern that Jane is being deprived of her childhood by her demanding mother, the two conspire to prevent Mrs. Powell from locating her daughter. At the hostel, the youngsters return from the fields to find Jane covered with grease and the pump completely broken, prompting Jack to lecture Jane that she should not volunteer for tasks she is incapable of performing. That night, Jack, who is a member of a farming family, proposes to Bonnie, who rejects him, claiming that the life of a farmer is too hard. Jack's friend Bill then volunteers to intercede with Bonnie on Jack's behalf. Overhearing their conversation, Jane suggests that Jack make Bonnie jealous by flirting with Bill's girl friend Peggy. Bill has gone to reason with Bonnie, and Jane promises to find him and disclose her new plan. Jane fails to reach Bill before the youngsters leave for the fields, however, and her plan backfires when Bonnie sees Jack kiss Peggy and becomes furious. Bill and Jack are both angry at Jane's meddling, and consequently, when all the bicycles crumple due to Jane's repairs, she is ostracized by the entire group. Trying to win back her friends, Jane reveals that she is Jane Powell. When Jack and the others refuse to believe her and accuse her of lying, Jane bursts into tears, and deciding to return home, phones her mother. Challenged by Jack to prove her claim, Jane sings a song from her latest film and the children realize that she is telling the truth. Deciding to leave immediately to avoid Mrs. Powell, Jane and her friends bike to Pomona. Upon arriving at his brother's farm there, Jack learns that a gale is headed in that direction and will destroy his brother's 1,000 acres of orange crops unless they are picked by midnight. Soon after, Mrs. Powell and Connors arrive at the hostel, and Jane's friends conceal Jane in a tree. After her mother drives away, Jane decides to enlist her help in solving Jack's problem and runs after the car. Jane climbs in, and no longer afraid of her mother, Jane reaches an understanding with her. In Hollywood, Jane asks Charlie McCarthy and her other entertainer friends to broadcast an announcement over the radio, promising free star-studded entertainment in Pomona. As crowds throng to the Moran ranch, W. C. Fields, Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen and Sammy Kay arrive. The audience is disgruntled when they are directed to pick oranges, but after W. C. Fields reminds them that the oranges are to be sent to soldiers fighting overseas, everyone eagerly flocks to the fields to do their patriotic duty. Bonnie, now convinced that the farming life is not frought with peril, agrees to marry Jack. +

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.