Mister Big (1943)

73-74 mins | Musical | 18 June 1943

Director:

Charles Lamont

Cinematographer:

George Robinson

Editor:

Frank Gross

Production Designer:

John Goodman

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Oh, Say, Can You Swing? , You Can't Ration Love and School for Jive . According to HR , the film's release title was changed from School for Jive to Mister Big in order to promote rising Universal star Donald O'Connor. Universal press materials further state that Mister Big was designed to be the first "star vehicle" for O'Connor. A 5 Feb 1943 HR news item announced a planned Universal project entitled Benny Goes to Town , starring O'Connor, Gloria Jean, Peggy Ryan and Bobby Scheerer, and directed by Charles Lamont. It has not been determined if this project became Mister Big or was another project that was replaced on the Universal production schedule by Mister Big . Mister Big marked the feature film debut of child actress Mary Eleanor ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Oh, Say, Can You Swing? , You Can't Ration Love and School for Jive . According to HR , the film's release title was changed from School for Jive to Mister Big in order to promote rising Universal star Donald O'Connor. Universal press materials further state that Mister Big was designed to be the first "star vehicle" for O'Connor. A 5 Feb 1943 HR news item announced a planned Universal project entitled Benny Goes to Town , starring O'Connor, Gloria Jean, Peggy Ryan and Bobby Scheerer, and directed by Charles Lamont. It has not been determined if this project became Mister Big or was another project that was replaced on the Universal production schedule by Mister Big . Mister Big marked the feature film debut of child actress Mary Eleanor Donahue. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 May 1943.
---
Daily Variety
24 May 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 May 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 43
p. 2, 11
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 43
p. 37.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 43
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Apr 43
p. 1277.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 May 43
p. 1338.
New York Times
14 Jun 43
p. 13.
Variety
26 May 43
p. 8
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Addl dial
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
DANCE
Dance dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"We're Not Obvious," "This Must Be a Dream," "All the Things I Want to Say," "Thee and Me," "Rude, Crude and Unattractive," "Hi, Character" and "The Spirit Is in Me," words and music by Buddy Pepper and Inez James
"We'll Meet Again," words and music by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles
"Come Along, My Mandy," words and music by Tom Mellor, A. J. Lawrence and Harry Gifford
+
SONGS
"We're Not Obvious," "This Must Be a Dream," "All the Things I Want to Say," "Thee and Me," "Rude, Crude and Unattractive," "Hi, Character" and "The Spirit Is in Me," words and music by Buddy Pepper and Inez James
"We'll Meet Again," words and music by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles
"Come Along, My Mandy," words and music by Tom Mellor, A. J. Lawrence and Harry Gifford
"Moonlight and Roses," words and music by Edwin H. Lemare, Ben Black and Neil Moret.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Oh Say Can You Swing
You Cant Ration Love
School for Jive
Release Date:
18 June 1943
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 June 1943
Production Date:
18 February--mid March 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
28 May 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12075
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73-74
Length(in feet):
6,640
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9297
SYNOPSIS

Jeremy Taswell is the director of the Davis School of the Theatre, a private high school for the arts. The faculty includes young lovers Johnny Hanley and Alice Taswell. One afternoon, student Donald suggests to some of his classmates that they go to "Jimmy's Backyard," a local hot-spot where Ray Eberle and His Orchestra, a jive band, is playing. While the teenagers are having a grand time, they discover from the band leader that their instructor, Johnny, is also known as "Boogieman Blue," a hot new songwriter. Donald tells Johnny that he has written a musical comedy, and fellow student Patricia, whose aunt, Mary Davis, owns the school, offers to use her influence to get the show produced. Aunt Mary, however, is a "culture nut," and becomes incensed at the mere thought of a "jive" show being produced at her school. After Aunt Mary reminds her niece that she is studying to be a dramatic actress, not a "jitterbugger," the students sadly learn that Sophocles' Antigone has been selected as the official class play. When Aunt Mary leaves for New York, however, the students go to work on Taswell, and, with the help of Johnny and Alice, he agrees to allow them to produce Donald's show, as long as Patricia is given a role. Johnny then writes the music for the show, which has become a musical version of Antigone . Donald tutors Patricia in jive dancing, and despite the reservations of the other students, who think she is too high-brow, gives her a featured part in the show. On opening night, Patricia breaks the bad news ... +


Jeremy Taswell is the director of the Davis School of the Theatre, a private high school for the arts. The faculty includes young lovers Johnny Hanley and Alice Taswell. One afternoon, student Donald suggests to some of his classmates that they go to "Jimmy's Backyard," a local hot-spot where Ray Eberle and His Orchestra, a jive band, is playing. While the teenagers are having a grand time, they discover from the band leader that their instructor, Johnny, is also known as "Boogieman Blue," a hot new songwriter. Donald tells Johnny that he has written a musical comedy, and fellow student Patricia, whose aunt, Mary Davis, owns the school, offers to use her influence to get the show produced. Aunt Mary, however, is a "culture nut," and becomes incensed at the mere thought of a "jive" show being produced at her school. After Aunt Mary reminds her niece that she is studying to be a dramatic actress, not a "jitterbugger," the students sadly learn that Sophocles' Antigone has been selected as the official class play. When Aunt Mary leaves for New York, however, the students go to work on Taswell, and, with the help of Johnny and Alice, he agrees to allow them to produce Donald's show, as long as Patricia is given a role. Johnny then writes the music for the show, which has become a musical version of Antigone . Donald tutors Patricia in jive dancing, and despite the reservations of the other students, who think she is too high-brow, gives her a featured part in the show. On opening night, Patricia breaks the bad news that her aunt has returned from New York. The students and faculty decide to put on Donald's show, even though Aunt Mary insists on seeing the original Antigone , as she has invited some society friends who might endow the school. The play opens, with Eberle's Broadway producing friends in the audience. Aunt Mary's friends are missing, however, as Donald has gone to the railway station and detoured them from the school. He returns just in time to see Aunt Mary's reaction to the first musical number. He convinces her that it is classical African music, then talks her into leaving the show to search for her friends. Unfortunately, they return to the theater just in time to see the jitterbug finale, which infuriates Aunt Mary. The Broadway producers, however, are enthralled with the show and offer to produce it in New York. Aunt Mary immediately changes her mind about the production and offers her full support. Johnny and Alice have fallen even deeper in love, while Donald finally returns Patricia's affection by offering to take her out for an ice cream soda. +

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.