Where Do We Go from Here? (1945)

77-78 mins | Fantasy | June 1945

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HISTORY

According to a Feb 1944 HR news item, this film originally was to be directed by Walter Lang and was to star Michael O'Shea as "Bill Morgan" and Stanley Prager as "Ali." Although a Mar 1944 news item announced that Agnes De Mille had been hired as the dance director, a May 1944 HR news item stated that Hermes Pan was to be the dance director. A 27 May 1944 LAEx item reported that Vivian Blaine would be one of the female co-stars. Well-known vaudeville performer Gene Sheldon, who stars as "Ali," made his American film debut in this picture. Fox borrowed Joan Leslie from Warner Bros. and Carlos Ramirez from M-G-M for the production. According to a HR news item, 250 Marines from the Marine Base at San Diego were hired as extras.
       According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and the Records of the Legal Department, both located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, early versions of the story included adventures in which "Bill Morgan" meets Commodore Perry and Lucretia Borgia. A 27 Jan 1944 screenplay included a gag in which Bill meets Don Ameche aboard the Santa Maria and exclaims "I don't know if it's 1492 or 1942," after Ameche states that he is inventing the telescope. In a 5 Sep 1944 script, Ameche is replaced by Ernst Lubitsch, who glares at Bill and asks, "Who did you think I was--Christopher Columbus?" after Bill recognizes him. Although photographs of Lubitsch in costume on the set exist, the gag was not included in the released film. ... More Less

According to a Feb 1944 HR news item, this film originally was to be directed by Walter Lang and was to star Michael O'Shea as "Bill Morgan" and Stanley Prager as "Ali." Although a Mar 1944 news item announced that Agnes De Mille had been hired as the dance director, a May 1944 HR news item stated that Hermes Pan was to be the dance director. A 27 May 1944 LAEx item reported that Vivian Blaine would be one of the female co-stars. Well-known vaudeville performer Gene Sheldon, who stars as "Ali," made his American film debut in this picture. Fox borrowed Joan Leslie from Warner Bros. and Carlos Ramirez from M-G-M for the production. According to a HR news item, 250 Marines from the Marine Base at San Diego were hired as extras.
       According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and the Records of the Legal Department, both located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, early versions of the story included adventures in which "Bill Morgan" meets Commodore Perry and Lucretia Borgia. A 27 Jan 1944 screenplay included a gag in which Bill meets Don Ameche aboard the Santa Maria and exclaims "I don't know if it's 1492 or 1942," after Ameche states that he is inventing the telescope. In a 5 Sep 1944 script, Ameche is replaced by Ernst Lubitsch, who glares at Bill and asks, "Who did you think I was--Christopher Columbus?" after Bill recognizes him. Although photographs of Lubitsch in costume on the set exist, the gag was not included in the released film. Writers Snag Werris and George Seaton (who directed the retakes and additional scenes as a favor to Gregory Ratoff, according to HR ) are listed by the legal files as contributing to the script, but the extent of their contributions to the finished picture has not been determined. The studio records also reveal that Ira Gerswhin and Kurt Weill wrote three additional songs that do not appear in the completed picture: "It Could Have Happened to Anyone," "Woo, Woo, Woo, Woo, Manhattan!" and "That's How It Is." [Part of the latter song was included in "Morale."] Gershwin and Weill's songs were highly praised in contemporary reviews, and the "Columbus" comic opera sequence was frequently singled out for acclaim. Where Do We Go From Here? was the only film in which Fred MacMurrary and June Haver, who were married in 1954, appeared together. The legal files contain information about a plagiarism lawsuit filed by Vera Blanch Edens, who claimed that the studio had stolen the film's story from a scenario she wrote entitled "Hunters of the Promised Land." After her first suit was dismissed, Edens filed suit again, but the judge dismissed the case with prejudice to prevent her from filing a third time. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 May 1945.
---
Daily Variety
23 May 45
p. 3, 8
Film Daily
23 May 45
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 44
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1944.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 44
p. 25.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 44
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 44
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 44
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 44
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 44
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 45
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 45
p. 8.
Los Angeles Examiner
27 May 1944.
---
Motion Picture Daily
24 May 1945.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Oct 44
p. 2131.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 May 45
p. 2465.
New York Times
7 Jun 45
p. 25.
Variety
23 May 45
p. 19.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Joseph Haworth
Will Kaufman
Hans von Morhart
Richard Reed
Barbara Blain
Lorraine Reimer
Johnny Reese
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir of retakes and addl scenes
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Incidental mus
Orch arr
SOUND
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Miniatures
DANCE
Dances staged by
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Research asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor dir
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Yankee Doodle," traditional
"1776 Boogie" by David Raksin.
SONGS
"All at Once," "Morale," "If Love Remains," "Song of the Rhineland" and "Columbus," music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ira Gerswhin.
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1945
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 6 June 1945
Production Date:
28 August--mid November 1944
retakes and addl scenes began 21 December 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
29 May 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13389
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
77-78
Length(in feet):
6,978
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10525
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Bill Morgan despairs when he tries to enlist in the Navy and is rejected as a 4-F, as he was by the Army. He goes to the New York U.S.O. canteen where Lucilla Powell, with whom he is in love, works, but Lucilla only has eyes for men in uniform. Lucilla tricks Bill into washing dishes, and he is aided by Sally, a sensible young woman who cannot compete with Lucilla's glamour. Bill is unaware of Sally's feelings for him, just as he is unaware of Lucilla's true, shallow nature. After finishing the dishes, Bill tries to talk Lucilla into a date, but she snubs him for a serviceman. Dejected, Bill returns to his scrap metal yard, which he sees as his only way to contribute to the war effort. There, an elderly woman brings in a load of junk, including an antique lamp. After the woman leaves, Bill is astonished to hear a man's voice begging to be released from the lamp. When Bill drops the lamp, a genie named Ali materializes from its remains and thanks Bill for freeing him. Bill is stunned but quickly recovers when Ali promises him some wishes for his good deed. Bill states that all he wants is to be in the Army, but when he emerges from Ali's magic cloud of smoke, he finds himself at Valley Forge in 1776. The troops with which Bill marches stop at a U.S.O. canteen for coffee, doughnuts and dancing, and Bill is entranced by a hostess named Prudence Smith, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Sally. Bill is distracted from Prudence, however, by ... +


Bill Morgan despairs when he tries to enlist in the Navy and is rejected as a 4-F, as he was by the Army. He goes to the New York U.S.O. canteen where Lucilla Powell, with whom he is in love, works, but Lucilla only has eyes for men in uniform. Lucilla tricks Bill into washing dishes, and he is aided by Sally, a sensible young woman who cannot compete with Lucilla's glamour. Bill is unaware of Sally's feelings for him, just as he is unaware of Lucilla's true, shallow nature. After finishing the dishes, Bill tries to talk Lucilla into a date, but she snubs him for a serviceman. Dejected, Bill returns to his scrap metal yard, which he sees as his only way to contribute to the war effort. There, an elderly woman brings in a load of junk, including an antique lamp. After the woman leaves, Bill is astonished to hear a man's voice begging to be released from the lamp. When Bill drops the lamp, a genie named Ali materializes from its remains and thanks Bill for freeing him. Bill is stunned but quickly recovers when Ali promises him some wishes for his good deed. Bill states that all he wants is to be in the Army, but when he emerges from Ali's magic cloud of smoke, he finds himself at Valley Forge in 1776. The troops with which Bill marches stop at a U.S.O. canteen for coffee, doughnuts and dancing, and Bill is entranced by a hostess named Prudence Smith, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Sally. Bill is distracted from Prudence, however, by the appearance of General George Washington and Benedict Arnold. When he finally speaks to Washington alone, Bill recalls his history lessons from Miss Hockheimer of Bronx High School and assures the general that Arnold is a traitor. Bill also volunteers to spy among the Hessian troops and goes to a tavern, where he meets a flirtatious waitress named Gretchen, who reminds him of Lucilla. Bill almost gets away with his spying mission, but is caught by General Rahl, who sentences him to be shot. Just as he is about to be killed, Bill is whisked away by Ali, whose good intentions continue to be thwarted by his magic timepiece, which is still broken. Although Ali succeeds in getting Bill into the Navy, he winds up on the Santa Maria with Christopher Columbus in 1492. Bill arrives just as disgruntled sailor Benito leads his fellow seaman in a mutiny against Columbus, but Bill is able to persuade them to stop. They soon discover land and Bill sets off in a sailboat for New York. He lands at Manhattan Island, where he is entranced by the sight of a curvaceous Indian woman undressing inside her tepee. Bill's happy exclamation at her show causes the woman to faint, and when Bill checks on her, he is forced to shoo away an encroaching bear. Bill is next terrified by the appearance of the woman's husband, Chief Badger, who threatens to scalp him. Bill talks the chief into selling him Manhattan for twenty-four dollars, but at the conclusion of their deal, finds that he has been swindled by the chief, his wife and their pet bear, who have perpetuated "the old badger game" on him. Bill finally realizes that the "Lucilla type" is not for him, and wishes that he could see the faces of the old Dutchmen when they discover that he owns Manhattan. Ali then transports him to Nieuw Amsterdam of the early 1600s. A respected blacksmith, Bill is enjoying the time period when he is confronted by obnoxious businessman Kreiger, who asserts that he is marrying the girl Bill loves. The woman turns out to be another Sally double named Katrina, and Bill realizes that she is indeed the woman for him. She is being forced to marry Kreiger, however, because he holds the deed to her father's farm. Determined to save Katrina, Bill approaches the city council and proves that he owns Manhattan with the deed signed by Chief Badger. He sells the island to them, but after they levy a series of taxes on him, Bill ends up owing them money and is thrown in jail. He is joined by the inebriated Ali, who helps him rescue Katrina from her wedding to Kreiger, then takes them on a ride through the centuries. When they arrive in the twentieth century, Ali kicks Bill out of the car into a recruiting station, and Katrina becomes Sally. Bill is accepted into the Marines and marches with them in a parade, although Ali at first has him marching with the Women's Marine Reserves. Safely installed among the men, Bill assures Sally of his love, while Ali is accosted by two policemen, who are suspicious of the 854 B.C. birthdate on his draft card. Ali wishes himself into the Marines, and is joined by Lucilla as he marches alongside Bill, who is accompanied by Sally. +

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.