The I Don't Care Girl (1953)

77-78 or 81 mins | Biography | January 1953

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writer:

Walter Bullock

Producer:

George Jessel

Cinematographer:

Arthur E. Arling

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Richard Irvine

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was I Don't Care . Before the opening credits, there is a brief sequence during which "Eva Tanguay" performs a number in the Ziegfeld Follies with a group of chorus girls. "Florenz Ziegeld, Jr." detects that there is something wrong with Eva, however, and orders that the curtain be brought down. The sequence is not explained or referred to again during the rest of the film and may be an anachronistic reference to Eva's later blindness and arthritis. The picture is very loosely based on the life of Eva Tanguay (1878--1947), a popular singer and dancer whose signature song, "I Don't Care," and well-publicized antics earned her the nickname "The I Don't Care Girl." In addition to her many vaudeville appearances, Tanguay starred in several editions of the Ziegfeld Follies and acted in a number of dramatic and musical plays. Tanguay was married at least twice, to a dancer and a pianist, and may have had another, common-law marriage to a comedian. Tanguay, who was well-known for her bawdy, spirited performances, appeared in two motion pictures: the 1916 picture Energetic Eva , directed by Joseph Smiley, and the 1917 Selznick Pictures production The Wild Girl , co-starring Tom Moore and directed by Howard Estabrook (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ).
       According to contemporary sources, I. A. L. Diamond, Albert E. Lewin, Burt Styler and Arthur Caesar worked on early drafts of the film's screenplay, but their contribution to the finished picture is doubtful. A 23 Aug 1951 HR news item noted that John Agar was to be tested for ... More Less

The working title of this film was I Don't Care . Before the opening credits, there is a brief sequence during which "Eva Tanguay" performs a number in the Ziegfeld Follies with a group of chorus girls. "Florenz Ziegeld, Jr." detects that there is something wrong with Eva, however, and orders that the curtain be brought down. The sequence is not explained or referred to again during the rest of the film and may be an anachronistic reference to Eva's later blindness and arthritis. The picture is very loosely based on the life of Eva Tanguay (1878--1947), a popular singer and dancer whose signature song, "I Don't Care," and well-publicized antics earned her the nickname "The I Don't Care Girl." In addition to her many vaudeville appearances, Tanguay starred in several editions of the Ziegfeld Follies and acted in a number of dramatic and musical plays. Tanguay was married at least twice, to a dancer and a pianist, and may have had another, common-law marriage to a comedian. Tanguay, who was well-known for her bawdy, spirited performances, appeared in two motion pictures: the 1916 picture Energetic Eva , directed by Joseph Smiley, and the 1917 Selznick Pictures production The Wild Girl , co-starring Tom Moore and directed by Howard Estabrook (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ).
       According to contemporary sources, I. A. L. Diamond, Albert E. Lewin, Burt Styler and Arthur Caesar worked on early drafts of the film's screenplay, but their contribution to the finished picture is doubtful. A 23 Aug 1951 HR news item noted that John Agar was to be tested for a leading role. Although the CBCS includes the following actors in the picture, they do not appear in the released film: Jimmy Dodd ( Will Rogers ), Jean Darling ( Lillian Tashman ), Harmon Stevens (W. C. Fields), Harry Hines ( German comic ), Eddie Parks ( German comic ), Frank Herman ( Ventriloquist ) and William Johnstone ( Magician ). HR news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Roscoe Lincoln, Gus Lax, Clara Hogan, Geraldine Farnum, Betty Jane Howarth, Diana Mumby, Meredith Leeds, Beryl McCutcheon, James Gonzales , Betty Jane Barton, Yvonne Ruby, Dorothy Towne, Marta Almeida, Nancy Kilgas, Kay Topscott, Al Lyons, Emil Moroney and Bob Odom, who served as Oscar Levant's stand-in.
       Although an Aug 1951 HR news item stated that director Lloyd Bacon was scouting locations in Indianapolis, the picture was shot on the Twentieth Century-Fox lot. Producer and former vaudeville star George Jessel, who appears as himself in the film, briefly filled in for Bacon when Bacon became ill. A number of reviews commented on the film's lack of continuity, which, according to the DV reviewer, was "apparently because fully half of the footage originally shot was scrapped." The I Don't Care Girl marked the motion picture debut of Bob Graham. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Jan 1953.
---
Daily Variety
24 Dec 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Jan 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 48
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 51
p. 5, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 51
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 52
pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 52
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 52
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Dec 52
p. 1662.
New York Times
14 Oct 1951.
---
Variety
24 Dec 52
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Gwyneth Verdon
William Walker
Billy Newell
Lynn Davis
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
Fill-In dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Mus settings
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
"The Beale Street Blues," "I Don't Care" and "The
Dance solos "This Is My Favorite City," "Pretty Ba
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Prod asst
Animal trainer
STAND INS
Stand-in for Oscar Levant
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Liebestraum" and Piano Concerto no. 1 by Franz Liszt
Little Fugue in G Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.
SONGS
"As Long as You Care (I Don't Care)," music by Joe Cooper, lyrics by George Jessel
"Here Comes Love Again," music and lyrics by George Jessel and Eliot Daniel
"I Don't Care," music by Harry O. Sutton, lyrics by Jean Lenox
+
SONGS
"As Long as You Care (I Don't Care)," music by Joe Cooper, lyrics by George Jessel
"Here Comes Love Again," music and lyrics by George Jessel and Eliot Daniel
"I Don't Care," music by Harry O. Sutton, lyrics by Jean Lenox
"This Is My Favorite City," music by Josef Myrow, lyrics by Mack Gordon
"On the Mississippi," music by Harry Carroll and Arthur Fields, lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
"Pretty Baby," music by Egbert Van Alstyne and Tony Jackson, lyrics by Gus Kahn
"Hello, Frisco, Hello," music by Louis A. Hirsch, lyrics by Gene Buck
"The Johnson Rag," music by Guy Hall and Henry Kleinauf, lyrics by Jack Lawrence
"The Beale Street Blues," music and lyrics by W. C. Handy.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
I Don't Care
Release Date:
January 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 January 1953
Production Date:
10 October--late November 1951
addl dance seq filmed late December 1951 and early February--mid March 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 January 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2461
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
77-78 or 81
Length(in feet):
7,262
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15612
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Twentieth Century-Fox film producer George Jessel is frustrated by the task of making a film about the life of vaudeville star Eva Tanguay, whose madcap antics and signature song, "I Don't Care," earned her the nickname "The I Don't Care Girl." One day, Jessel reviews a script submitted by writers Keene and Lawrence and tells them that they are no closer to revealing the impetuous Eva's true nature than before. Jessel instructs the writers to interview Eddie McCoy, Eva's first partner, and when they question the former song and dance man, he tells them how he met Eva: After Eddie's wife dies, he begins performing alone, but is warned that he is not as good as a solo. Wandering the streets, Eddie stops at a small restaurant and is charmed by the impromptu singing and dancing of Eva, who works there as a waitress. After Eva is fired for breaking dishes, Eddie persuades her to join him, and during the next few weeks, teaches her his routine. Eva and Eddie are a hit during their first appearance, although Eva is distracted by her attraction to singer Larry Woods. Larry's partner, pianist Charles Bennett, is jealous, as he is also infatuated with Eva, and informs her that Larry is married. Infuriated, Eva pours a cup of coffee on Larry before he can explain, then tours the country with Eddie, although he can tell that she misses Larry. By the time they reach New York City, Eddie's weak heart prohibits him from working and Eva continues alone. Eva wows the crowd with her energetic performance, and there Eddie's story ends. When Keene ... +


Twentieth Century-Fox film producer George Jessel is frustrated by the task of making a film about the life of vaudeville star Eva Tanguay, whose madcap antics and signature song, "I Don't Care," earned her the nickname "The I Don't Care Girl." One day, Jessel reviews a script submitted by writers Keene and Lawrence and tells them that they are no closer to revealing the impetuous Eva's true nature than before. Jessel instructs the writers to interview Eddie McCoy, Eva's first partner, and when they question the former song and dance man, he tells them how he met Eva: After Eddie's wife dies, he begins performing alone, but is warned that he is not as good as a solo. Wandering the streets, Eddie stops at a small restaurant and is charmed by the impromptu singing and dancing of Eva, who works there as a waitress. After Eva is fired for breaking dishes, Eddie persuades her to join him, and during the next few weeks, teaches her his routine. Eva and Eddie are a hit during their first appearance, although Eva is distracted by her attraction to singer Larry Woods. Larry's partner, pianist Charles Bennett, is jealous, as he is also infatuated with Eva, and informs her that Larry is married. Infuriated, Eva pours a cup of coffee on Larry before he can explain, then tours the country with Eddie, although he can tell that she misses Larry. By the time they reach New York City, Eddie's weak heart prohibits him from working and Eva continues alone. Eva wows the crowd with her energetic performance, and there Eddie's story ends. When Keene and Lawrence repeat the information to Jessel, he orders them to meet with Bennett, who is now a music publisher. Bennett laughingly tells the two writers that the story Eddie told them was entertaining, but not true. After informing them that Eva had been a café performer before she met Eddie, Bennett relates what really happened when she and Eddie came to New York: At the Alhambra Theater, Eva begs the drunken Eddie to sober up before their performance. Their bickering bothers headliner Stella Forrest, and she complains to Mr. Malneck, the theater's owner. Malneck orders Eva to play that afternoon's show alone, and when she states that she needs an accompanist, he takes her to Stella's room, where she is conferring with Bennett. Eva and Bennett are delighted to meet again, and he stages a sophisticated number for her, which is so popular that Stella orders Malneck to fire Eva. Larry has brought impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. to see Eva, however, and he hires her for his Follies. Later, when Larry and Eva are rehearsing their Follies number, he confesses that he is trapped in a loveless marriage to his money-grubbing wife Polly, but that he has fallen in love with Eva and would marry her if he were free. Softened by his declaration, Eva encourages Larry to get a divorce and promises to marry him. Ziegfeld's touch makes Eva a star, and later, she becomes the headliner of the Follies. On the opening night of Eva's new show, Larry tells her that his divorce will be final soon, and informs her that he will be playing his new operetta for a "big producer" that evening. Later, however, Bennett inadvertently reveals that Larry is auditioning his operetta for Stella, whom Eva has never forgiven for getting her fired. Overcome by her temper, Eva refuses to see Larry, but when she learns that the United States has entered World War I, she realizes that her own problems are insignificant and tells Bennett to arrange a meeting with Larry. Before Bennett leaves, however, Eva learns that Larry will be singing with Stella at a benefit show. Again acting without thinking, Eva arranges to have a man armed with tomatoes in the audience during Stella and Larry's performance. Much to Eva's dismay, Larry has enlisted in the Army and appears in his new uniform, and the shocked audience boos when Eva's helper hits Larry with a juicy tomato. Horrified by what she has done, Eva goes into hiding, and Larry reads that she has announced her retirement. Determined to rouse Eva, Larry asks Eddie and Bennett for help, and they persuade her to visit him by implying that Larry may be shipped overseas soon. At the Army camp, Larry is preparing a service benefit show, but when Eva appears and tearfully bids him farewell before his supposed departure for France, he cannot bring himself to tell her the truth. Eva learns the truth from Larry's lieutenant, however, and a disgusted Eddie and Bennett walk out as Eva and Larry quarrel. When Bennett finishes the story, he confesses that he does not know what happened to Eva and Larry. Jessel is perturbed when Lawrence and Keene tell him that the movie will not have a happy ending, and when his secretary tells him that a gentleman who has been trying to see him for weeks has appeared yet again, Jessel grudgingly admits him. The man turns out to be Larry, and a thrilled Jessel listens as Larry tells him that upon his return from the war, Eva was waiting for him. With their romantic difficulties resolved, Eva and Larry continued in show business and enjoyed their success together. +

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

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