The Lady Is Willing (1942)

92-93 mins | Romantic comedy | 12 February 1942

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Miss Madden Is Willing . The film opens with a sequence in which an audience is seen waiting in line outside a theater. The opening credits are then printed on the theater marquee and playbill. As the audience is waiting, Marlene Dietrich comes out of the theater, climbs into a taxi and tells the driver her destination. This was an early example of screen credits running simultaneous to the beginning action of the story. According to a mid-Sep 1941 HR news item, Dietrich sprained her ankle during production and had to finish the picture wearing a cast. Fred MacMurray was borrowed from Paramount to appear in this picture. On 3 Mar 1943, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio version of the story, starring Kay ... More Less

The working title of this film was Miss Madden Is Willing . The film opens with a sequence in which an audience is seen waiting in line outside a theater. The opening credits are then printed on the theater marquee and playbill. As the audience is waiting, Marlene Dietrich comes out of the theater, climbs into a taxi and tells the driver her destination. This was an early example of screen credits running simultaneous to the beginning action of the story. According to a mid-Sep 1941 HR news item, Dietrich sprained her ankle during production and had to finish the picture wearing a cast. Fred MacMurray was borrowed from Paramount to appear in this picture. On 3 Mar 1943, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio version of the story, starring Kay Francis. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
31 Jan 1942.
---
Daily Variety
23 Jan 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Feb 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 Jan 42
p. 485.
New York Times
24 Apr 42
p. 21.
Variety
28 Jan 42
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Mitchell Leisen's Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Under the dir of
WRITERS
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns for Miss Madden
Hats for Miss Madden
Jewels for Miss Madden
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dir
SOUND
DANCE
Dance dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Asst to Mitchell Leisen
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Find Love," words and music by Jack King and Gordon Clifford.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Miss Madden Is Willing
Release Date:
12 February 1942
Production Date:
11 August--24 October 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 January 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11035
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
92-93
Length(in feet):
8,149
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7822
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Broadway actress Elizabeth "Liza" Madden finds an abandoned baby in an apartment house, she impulsively decides to adopt the infant and takes it home. Liza then summons Corey T. McBain, a prominent pediatrician, to examine the foundling. When the doctor arrives, he shocks Liza by brusquely declaring that he detests all infants. After Liza announces her intention to adopt the baby, whom she names "Corey," her business manager, Kenneth Hanline, advises her to return the baby because the courts will never grant custody to a financially insolvent, unmarried woman. Although Liza maintains a lavish apartment, she has generously dispensed her earnings to friends and colleagues and hence has no money. Ken's dire prediction that Liza could spend her life behind bars for kidnapping threatens to come true when Sgt. Barnes of the New York police department and Mrs. Cummings of the child welfare bureau knock on Liza's door in search of the woman who spirited the baby from the apartment building. Although Liza tries to hide the infant from the authorities, her building manager inadvertently discloses Corey's presence by informing Liza that she has been granted permission to build a nursery in the adjoining apartment. Feeling sorry for the distraught Liza, Mrs. Cummings allows her to keep the infant until the next morning. Following Ken's advice, Liza decides to embark on a marriage of convenience in order to adopt Corey. That evening, when the baby develops a rash, Liza again sends for McBain, who is amused by her devotion to the infant. Afterward, when McBain confides that his true passion is research and that he became a baby doctor only for the monetary rewards, ... +


When Broadway actress Elizabeth "Liza" Madden finds an abandoned baby in an apartment house, she impulsively decides to adopt the infant and takes it home. Liza then summons Corey T. McBain, a prominent pediatrician, to examine the foundling. When the doctor arrives, he shocks Liza by brusquely declaring that he detests all infants. After Liza announces her intention to adopt the baby, whom she names "Corey," her business manager, Kenneth Hanline, advises her to return the baby because the courts will never grant custody to a financially insolvent, unmarried woman. Although Liza maintains a lavish apartment, she has generously dispensed her earnings to friends and colleagues and hence has no money. Ken's dire prediction that Liza could spend her life behind bars for kidnapping threatens to come true when Sgt. Barnes of the New York police department and Mrs. Cummings of the child welfare bureau knock on Liza's door in search of the woman who spirited the baby from the apartment building. Although Liza tries to hide the infant from the authorities, her building manager inadvertently discloses Corey's presence by informing Liza that she has been granted permission to build a nursery in the adjoining apartment. Feeling sorry for the distraught Liza, Mrs. Cummings allows her to keep the infant until the next morning. Following Ken's advice, Liza decides to embark on a marriage of convenience in order to adopt Corey. That evening, when the baby develops a rash, Liza again sends for McBain, who is amused by her devotion to the infant. Afterward, when McBain confides that his true passion is research and that he became a baby doctor only for the monetary rewards, Liza relates her problems with the child welfare bureau and proposes a marriage of convenience. In exchange for a marriage certificate, Liza offers McBain her newly expanded apartment in which to raise rabbits for his research experiments, and he reluctantly accepts. After the wedding ceremony, McBain encounters his ex-wife Frances, who warns her successor about the doctor's obsession with rabbits. McBain abandons his medical practice to raise rabbits and bliss reigns in the household until one day, Joe and Nellie Quig appear, accompanied by their lawyer, K. K. Miller. Miller claims that the Quigs are Corey's real parents and offers to relinquish custody for $25,000, but McBain exposes the Quigs and their attorney as frauds. In celebration, McBain invites Liza to dinner and they end the evening with a passionate kiss. The next morning, the fortune-hunting Frances, having read about the $5,000 research grant awarded to McBain, visits him in his bedroom to ask for $500. When Liza discovers Frances in McBain's bed, she thinks that they are having an affair and angrily decides to close her show that night and move it to Boston. As Liza, her assistant Buddy, her maid Mary Lou and Myrtle, the nanny, scramble to prepare for their trip, the baby falls ill and Liza sends for the house physician to examine him. McBain becomes concerned when he sees the doctor enter the apartment, but Liza refuses to allow him to see the baby. Assured by the doctor that Corey has only a minor cold, Liza leaves for Boston with Corey and her entourage. Upon discovering that Corey has fallen seriously ill and is hospitalized in Boston, McBain books passage on the next flight. Meanwhile, in Boston, the doctors want to operate on the baby, but Liza withholds permission until she is able to contact McBain. After Liza's frantic calls to New York go unanswered, she paces the hospital corridor in anguish. When McBain finally appears, she flies into his arms, full of remorse. After examining Corey, McBain affirms the need for surgery, but is reluctant to perform the operation himself. When Liza begs McBain to operate and promises to love him no matter what the outcome, he consents. Hours after the surgery has been completed, the baby's condition remains unchanged, and McBain insists that Liza go on with her performance at the theater. At the finale, McBain appears in the wings with the good news that the baby will recover. +

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.