Down to Earth (1947)

98 or 100-101 mins | Musical | 31 October 1947

Director:

Alexander Hall

Cinematographer:

Rudolph Maté

Editor:

Viola Lawrence

Production Designers:

Stephen Goosson, Rudolph Sternad

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

As noted above, Harry Segall's unproduced play was first copyrighted under the title It Was Like That in Nov 1938. In 1943, the play's title was changed to Halfway to Heaven and was also listed in copyright records as Heaven Can Wait . This film was a follow-up to the 1941 Columbia picture Here Comes Mr. Jordan (see below), which also featured actor Edward Everett Horton in the role of "Messenger 7013" and James Gleason as "Max Corkle." The character of "Mr. Jordan," played by Roland Culver in Down to Earth , was played by Claude Rains in the 1941 film. An Aug 1946 HR news item announced that former model Georgette Windsor was to make her film debut in this picture, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Contemporary news items in HR note that the filming of the "heaven" sequences took place at the Westwood Ice Palace, and that a second unit was assigned to shoot an outdoor sequence in downtown Los Angeles. According to a Jul 1946 HR news item, New York City's Gramercy Park, the setting of the musical finale, was reconsctructed on two sound stages at the Columbia lot.
       According to information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Breen Office, after viewing the completed film in Jan 1947, deemed the picture "unacceptable" under the Production Code. Specifically, the office objected to three skimpy costumes worn by Rita Hayworth and some "offensively suggestive dance movements in the early part of the picture." According ... More Less

As noted above, Harry Segall's unproduced play was first copyrighted under the title It Was Like That in Nov 1938. In 1943, the play's title was changed to Halfway to Heaven and was also listed in copyright records as Heaven Can Wait . This film was a follow-up to the 1941 Columbia picture Here Comes Mr. Jordan (see below), which also featured actor Edward Everett Horton in the role of "Messenger 7013" and James Gleason as "Max Corkle." The character of "Mr. Jordan," played by Roland Culver in Down to Earth , was played by Claude Rains in the 1941 film. An Aug 1946 HR news item announced that former model Georgette Windsor was to make her film debut in this picture, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Contemporary news items in HR note that the filming of the "heaven" sequences took place at the Westwood Ice Palace, and that a second unit was assigned to shoot an outdoor sequence in downtown Los Angeles. According to a Jul 1946 HR news item, New York City's Gramercy Park, the setting of the musical finale, was reconsctructed on two sound stages at the Columbia lot.
       According to information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Breen Office, after viewing the completed film in Jan 1947, deemed the picture "unacceptable" under the Production Code. Specifically, the office objected to three skimpy costumes worn by Rita Hayworth and some "offensively suggestive dance movements in the early part of the picture." According to the memo, Columbia executive Harry Cohn took "violent exception" to Joseph Breen's viewpoint and refused to make any changes in the film. The memo further noted that Cohn complained that the PCA had approved pictures, such as the 1946 Selznick film Duel in the Sun , that, in his judgment, were "unacceptable." Subsequent memos indicate that Breen approved Down to Earth after Columbia ordered minor cuts and changes in the film, including the use of longer shots to replace close-ups of Hayworth's dresses. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Aug 1947.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1947.
---
Film Daily
30 Jul 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 46
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 47
p. 4.
Independent Film Journal
30 Mar 46
p. 46.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Aug 46
p. 3126.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Aug 47
p. 3757.
New York Times
12 Sep 47
p. 18.
Variety
30 Jul 47
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Don Hartman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Insert shots
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Addl mus
Addl mus
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod arr
Prod arr
Prod arr
Asst to the prod
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created in the play It Was Like That by Harry Segall (copyrighted 30 Nov 1938).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Let's Stay Young Forever," "They Can't Convince Me," "This Can't Be Legal" and "People Have More Fun Than Anyone," music and lyrics by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts.
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 October 1947
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 September 1947
Production Date:
25 March--21 August 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 July 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1089
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
98 or 100-101
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11676
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When questioned by the police about the murder of gambler Joe Mannion, Broadway theatrical agent Max Corkle professes his innocence and tells the police lieutenant the story of how he came to know one of the gambler's associates, Danny Miller: While Danny, the director and leading actor of a musical show about the nine Greek muses, rehearses his play, Terpsichore, a real muse, high in the heavens on Mount Parnassus, becomes angered by actress Georgia Evans' vulgar portrayal of herself and vows to destroy Danny. Mr. Jordan, the man who oversees all travel from the heavens to earth, assigns Messenger 7013 to be Terpsichore's guide, and sends the two to Earth. In New York, Messenger 7013, who can be seen and heard only by Terpsichore, takes the muse to the Elton Theater, where Danny is rehearsing his show. Repulsed by Evans' performance, Terpsichore takes to the stage and shows off her singing and dancing abilities. Danny is enchanted by the mysterious actress, and later casts her in the role. Using the name Kitty Pendelton, Terpsichore hires Max Corkle as her agent and begins studying for her role. A short time later, Danny, who has fallen in love with Terpsichore, allows her to change her part from that of a "cheap trollop" to a more dignified muse. However, when the revamped show is poorly received in Philadelphia, Danny decides to reinstate the show's more tawdry elements before opening in New York. This infuriates Terpsichore, who quits the show and asks Mr. Jordan to return her to Mount Parnassus. Mr. Jordan tries to persuade Terpsichore to stay with the troupe by showing ... +


When questioned by the police about the murder of gambler Joe Mannion, Broadway theatrical agent Max Corkle professes his innocence and tells the police lieutenant the story of how he came to know one of the gambler's associates, Danny Miller: While Danny, the director and leading actor of a musical show about the nine Greek muses, rehearses his play, Terpsichore, a real muse, high in the heavens on Mount Parnassus, becomes angered by actress Georgia Evans' vulgar portrayal of herself and vows to destroy Danny. Mr. Jordan, the man who oversees all travel from the heavens to earth, assigns Messenger 7013 to be Terpsichore's guide, and sends the two to Earth. In New York, Messenger 7013, who can be seen and heard only by Terpsichore, takes the muse to the Elton Theater, where Danny is rehearsing his show. Repulsed by Evans' performance, Terpsichore takes to the stage and shows off her singing and dancing abilities. Danny is enchanted by the mysterious actress, and later casts her in the role. Using the name Kitty Pendelton, Terpsichore hires Max Corkle as her agent and begins studying for her role. A short time later, Danny, who has fallen in love with Terpsichore, allows her to change her part from that of a "cheap trollop" to a more dignified muse. However, when the revamped show is poorly received in Philadelphia, Danny decides to reinstate the show's more tawdry elements before opening in New York. This infuriates Terpsichore, who quits the show and asks Mr. Jordan to return her to Mount Parnassus. Mr. Jordan tries to persuade Terpsichore to stay with the troupe by showing her a scene from Danny's past: After Danny loses $20,000 gambling at Mannion's casino, Mannion threatens him with death if he does not pay his debt. In a clever move, Danny persuades Mannion to back his new show in exchange for a suicide note. If the show succeeds, Danny will have money to repay his debt; but if it fails, the note will prevent an investigation into his death. After watching the scene from Danny's past, Terpsichore decides to return to the show and play the role the way Danny wants. Following the show's successful opening in New York, Danny proposes to Terpsichore. Though deeply in love with Danny, Terpsichore knows that she will never be able to marry him because she must return to Mount Parnassus with Mr. Jordan. Later, when Max joins Mr. Jordan and Terpsichore for a drive through the city, Mr. Jordan foresees the murder of Mannion and instructs Terpsichore to tell Max to telephone the police. The telephone call is placed too late, however, as Mannion is gunned down by his casino partner before the police arrive. After telling Terpsichore she saved Danny's life, Mr. Jordan returns the muse to Mount Parnassus. As Max comes out of his reverie, he convinces the police of his innocence and is asked to be the agent for the actress who will be replacing the real Terpsichore. Meanwhile, on Mount Parnassus, Mr. Jordan shows Terpsichore the future, in which she and Danny are reunited in love. +

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.