Golden Girl (1952)

103 or 107-108 mins | Biography, Comedy-drama, Musical | November 1952

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Belle of Market Street . The picture is loosely based on the life of famed entertainer Lotta Crabtree, who was known as "The Golden Girl" (1847--1924). Crabtree began performing in a small California mining town at the age of six, and took dancing lessons from Lola Montez. By the age of eight, Crabtree, accompanied by her mother, was touring California, and soon became a sensation in San Francisco, New York and the rest of the United States. When Crabtree retired at the age of forty-five, she was the wealthiest actress of her generation, and as depicted in the film, her many philanthropic actions included the gift of a fountain to the city of San Francisco.
       According to a Jun 1950 HR news item, ballerina Valerie Bettis was tested for the lead role. Although an 8 Mar 1951 LAEx news item announced that Thelma Ritter had been cast as "Mary Ann Crabtree," Una Merkel played the role. Shooting was delayed for approximately three weeks due to a broken toe suffered by Mizti Gaynor, according to HR news items. Although HR news items include the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed: Grady Harrison, Doc McGill, Lola Kendrick, Alvin Hammer, Sally Yarnell and Danny Borzage. On 3 May 1950, HR noted that character actor Bill Worth died while being made up for his part in the picture. In mid-Jun 1950, HR also reported that director Lloyd Bacon, who apparently made a cameo appearance in each ... More Less

The working title of this film was Belle of Market Street . The picture is loosely based on the life of famed entertainer Lotta Crabtree, who was known as "The Golden Girl" (1847--1924). Crabtree began performing in a small California mining town at the age of six, and took dancing lessons from Lola Montez. By the age of eight, Crabtree, accompanied by her mother, was touring California, and soon became a sensation in San Francisco, New York and the rest of the United States. When Crabtree retired at the age of forty-five, she was the wealthiest actress of her generation, and as depicted in the film, her many philanthropic actions included the gift of a fountain to the city of San Francisco.
       According to a Jun 1950 HR news item, ballerina Valerie Bettis was tested for the lead role. Although an 8 Mar 1951 LAEx news item announced that Thelma Ritter had been cast as "Mary Ann Crabtree," Una Merkel played the role. Shooting was delayed for approximately three weeks due to a broken toe suffered by Mizti Gaynor, according to HR news items. Although HR news items include the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed: Grady Harrison, Doc McGill, Lola Kendrick, Alvin Hammer, Sally Yarnell and Danny Borzage. On 3 May 1950, HR noted that character actor Bill Worth died while being made up for his part in the picture. In mid-Jun 1950, HR also reported that director Lloyd Bacon, who apparently made a cameo appearance in each of his pictures, would be playing a policeman in Golden Girl . Worth's and Bacon's appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed, however. Portions of the picture were filmed at Century Ranch in Malibu Hills and in San Francisco, CA. The film marked Gaynor's first leading role, and the LAEx reviewer called her "one of Hollywood's most promising young actresses." Lionel Newman and Eliot Daniel's song "Never" was nominated for an Academy Award. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1951.
---
Daily Variety
1 Nov 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 Nov 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 51
pp. 2-3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 51
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 51
p. 2, 10
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 51
pp. 8-9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 May 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 51
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 51
p. 1.
Los Angeles Examiner
8 Mar 1951.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
22 Nov 1951.
---
Motion Picture Daily
7 Nov 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Nov 51
p. 1101.
New York Times
19 Nov 51
p. 19.
New York Times
21 Nov 51
p. 20.
Newsweek
3 Dec 1951.
---
Time
26 Nov 1951.
---
Variety
7 Nov 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
STAND INS
Stand-in for Dennis Day
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"California Moon," music by Joe Cooper, lyrics by George Jessel and Sam Lerner
"Never," music by Lionel Newman, lyrics by Eliot Daniel
"Sunday Morning," music by Ken Darby, lyrics by Ken Darby and Eliot Daniel
+
SONGS
"California Moon," music by Joe Cooper, lyrics by George Jessel and Sam Lerner
"Never," music by Lionel Newman, lyrics by Eliot Daniel
"Sunday Morning," music by Ken Darby, lyrics by Ken Darby and Eliot Daniel
"San Francisco," music by Bronislaw Kaper and Walter Jurmann, lyrics by Gus Kahn
"Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" and "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," music and lyrics by James Bland
"Beautiful Dreamer," music and lyrics by Stephen Foster
"Parade Entrance to Quincy," music and lyrics by Ken Darby and Eliot Daniel
"Kiss Me Quick, and Go," music and lyrics by F. Buckley, additional lyrics by Eliot Daniel
"Introduction to Johnny," music and lyrics by Eliot Daniel
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home," music and lyrics by Louis Lambert, additional lyrics by George Jessel and Eliot Daniel
"Dixie," music and lyrics attributed to Daniel Decatur Emmett.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Belle of Market Street
Release Date:
November 1952
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Francisco, CA: 8 November 1951
New York opening: 19 November 1951
Los Angeles opening: 21 November 1951
Production Date:
30 April--31 July 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 January 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1428
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
103 or 107-108
Length(in feet):
9,712
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15309
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1863, rambunctious teenager Lotta Crabtree eagerly anticipates the arrival of famed entertainer Lola Montez to the small town of Rabbit Creek, California. Lotta's stern mother Mary Ann discourages Lotta's interest in Montez, although her henpecked father John encourages her affection for music and dancing. Determined to be an actress, Lotta skips school and studies her idol's every move as she parades into town, accompanied by disguised townsman Mart Taylor, who publicizes her performance by pretending to shoot himself out of love for her. Although Mart adores Lotta, he is reluctant to sneak her into the saloon where he works to watch Montez perform. The next morning, as Lotta plays outside, her singing and dancing are observed by handsome Southerner Tom Richmond, who is amused by Lotta's costume and imperious demeanor. Tom agrees to escort her to Montez's show, and the delighted girl slips out of her room that night. While Lotta is reveling in Montez's exuberant performance, John accompanies Cornelius, one of the lodgers at the Crabtree boardinghouse, to the saloon to gamble. Cornelius assures John that he has a surefire scheme to win at roulette, but the unlucky John winds up losing his money and the boardinghouse. Mart, who has informed Tom that Lotta is only sixteen, escorts her home, and when she learns about her father's misfortune, she convinces Mary Ann that she can help the family by becoming a touring entertainer. John leaves with Cornelius during the night, and in the morning, Mary Ann and Lotta, accompanied by Mart and some local musicians, begin to tour the many mining towns in California. During her first show Lotta ... +


In 1863, rambunctious teenager Lotta Crabtree eagerly anticipates the arrival of famed entertainer Lola Montez to the small town of Rabbit Creek, California. Lotta's stern mother Mary Ann discourages Lotta's interest in Montez, although her henpecked father John encourages her affection for music and dancing. Determined to be an actress, Lotta skips school and studies her idol's every move as she parades into town, accompanied by disguised townsman Mart Taylor, who publicizes her performance by pretending to shoot himself out of love for her. Although Mart adores Lotta, he is reluctant to sneak her into the saloon where he works to watch Montez perform. The next morning, as Lotta plays outside, her singing and dancing are observed by handsome Southerner Tom Richmond, who is amused by Lotta's costume and imperious demeanor. Tom agrees to escort her to Montez's show, and the delighted girl slips out of her room that night. While Lotta is reveling in Montez's exuberant performance, John accompanies Cornelius, one of the lodgers at the Crabtree boardinghouse, to the saloon to gamble. Cornelius assures John that he has a surefire scheme to win at roulette, but the unlucky John winds up losing his money and the boardinghouse. Mart, who has informed Tom that Lotta is only sixteen, escorts her home, and when she learns about her father's misfortune, she convinces Mary Ann that she can help the family by becoming a touring entertainer. John leaves with Cornelius during the night, and in the morning, Mary Ann and Lotta, accompanied by Mart and some local musicians, begin to tour the many mining towns in California. During her first show Lotta is billed as "The Golden Girl," but is disappointed when the miners do not throw gold pieces, as had happened during Montez's performances. She then tears off part of her costume and does a risque dance, which the infuriated Mary Ann criticizes. Tom, who is in the audience, saves the day by encouraging the miners to throw gold onto the stage. During the following weeks, the Crabtrees and Mart continue their travels, and Lotta's fame spreads. Tom trails her to every show and meets her secretly, and the couple fall in love. One night, Mary Ann confronts Tom, who confesses that he is a professional gambler. Before Lotta's next performance, Mary Ann reveals Tom's profession to Lotta, and accuses him of following them only to fleece the gathered crowds. Crestfallen, Lotta refuses to talk to Tom, although her attentions are diverted by the appearance of a Union officer, who asks her to transport gold to her next stop at Fort Yucca. The officer explains that a notorious bandit named "The Spaniard" has been stealing Union gold, and Lotta agrees to his request. Before Lotta leaves, however, Tom finds her and professes his love, which Lotta gladly reciprocates. Soon after, the Crabtree wagon is held up by masked bandits, led by The Spaniard. Despite his disguise, Lotta recognizes Tom as The Spaniard, but is comforted by his explanation that he is actually a Confederate captain ordered to provide for his starving men. Promising to sing "Dixie" for him in the future, Lotta bids farewell to her beloved and continues her travels. Lotta's fame grows and soon she goes to San Francisco, where she is reunited with her father. John wins the deed to a prominent theater in a card game, and Mart uses it to stage a successful show for Lotta. As the Civil War rages on, Lotta becomes the darling of San Francisco. Hoping to find Tom, Lotta reluctantly leaves California on a cross-country tour, ending in New York. The Golden Girl's appearances in New York are constantly sold out, and although Mary Ann gently reminds Lotta that it has been a year since she last saw Tom, Lotta refuses to give up hope. One night, just after learning that the war is over, Lotta receives a letter from Tom, stating that he has been wounded but will soon recover. Mary Ann also receives a letter from Tom's doctor, who explains that Tom will probably not survive. Heartbroken, Lotta continues the show, although the audience boos when she sings "Dixie." Mart then champions Lotta, telling the crowd that they should be generous in victory, and soon everyone joins Lotta in song. After the show, the family lets Lotta grieve alone, but as she gazes across the empty stage, she hears Tom call her name and rushes into his arms. +

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

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