True to Life (1943)

92 or 94 mins | Comedy | 1943

Director:

George Marshall

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

LeRoy Stone

Production Designers:

Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to HR news items, Dalton Trumbo was slated to write this film's screenplay, and Fred MacMurray, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were considered for lead roles. Trumbo's contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. In addition, a HR news item noted that some scenes were shot at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, ... More Less

According to HR news items, Dalton Trumbo was slated to write this film's screenplay, and Fred MacMurray, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were considered for lead roles. Trumbo's contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. In addition, a HR news item noted that some scenes were shot at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Aug 1943.
---
Daily Variety
11 Aug 43
p. 3, 6
Film Daily
13 Aug 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 43
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Dec 42
p. 1079.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Aug 43
p. 1481.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Oct 43
p. 1578.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Nov 43
p. 1617.
New York Times
14 Oct 43
p. 26.
Variety
11 Aug 43
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
Story
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Old Music Master," "Mister Pollyanna" and "There She Was," music and lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer.
DETAILS
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 October 1943
Production Date:
14 September--early November 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 August 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12408
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
92 or 94
Length(in feet):
8,413
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8862
SYNOPSIS

Highly paid New York radio writers Link Ferris and Fletcher Marvin are about to lose their jobs because the popularity of their melodrama "Kitty Farmer" has declined. Mr. Huggins, president of Sudsy Suds, the company that sponsors the show, insists that they need to make "Kitty" more human. Desperate for inspiration, Link takes to the streets to meet "real" women. After approaching several strangers, Link is thrown off the subway in Sunnyside, and takes shelter from the pouring rain under a diner's overhang. Link is drawn inside by waitress Bonnie Porter's singing, and, believing that he is destitute, Bonnie gives him a free meal. When Bonnie spouts her cheerful philosophy on life and gives Link a brief outline of her family, he realizes that she is the embodiment of "Kitty." Although Link tries to assure her that he is well-situated, Bonnie continues to believe that he is homeless and jobless, and takes him home as a boarder. There, Link meets her charmingly idiosyncratic family: her father, who works at the bakery by day, and is a bumbling inventor at home; her younger brother Clem, who enthusiastically dreams of being a doctor; her younger sister Twips, who immediately becomes infatuated with Link; her cantankerous uncle Jake; and her strong-willed mother, who is suspicious of the apparently shiftless Link. Now a resident with the Porter family, whom he entertains by singing and playing the piano, Link pretends to look for work during the day, but is actually reporting to Fletcher, who writes the script for the new show based on the information Link gives him. During the show's first airing, Link goes to exaggerated efforts to prevent the ... +


Highly paid New York radio writers Link Ferris and Fletcher Marvin are about to lose their jobs because the popularity of their melodrama "Kitty Farmer" has declined. Mr. Huggins, president of Sudsy Suds, the company that sponsors the show, insists that they need to make "Kitty" more human. Desperate for inspiration, Link takes to the streets to meet "real" women. After approaching several strangers, Link is thrown off the subway in Sunnyside, and takes shelter from the pouring rain under a diner's overhang. Link is drawn inside by waitress Bonnie Porter's singing, and, believing that he is destitute, Bonnie gives him a free meal. When Bonnie spouts her cheerful philosophy on life and gives Link a brief outline of her family, he realizes that she is the embodiment of "Kitty." Although Link tries to assure her that he is well-situated, Bonnie continues to believe that he is homeless and jobless, and takes him home as a boarder. There, Link meets her charmingly idiosyncratic family: her father, who works at the bakery by day, and is a bumbling inventor at home; her younger brother Clem, who enthusiastically dreams of being a doctor; her younger sister Twips, who immediately becomes infatuated with Link; her cantankerous uncle Jake; and her strong-willed mother, who is suspicious of the apparently shiftless Link. Now a resident with the Porter family, whom he entertains by singing and playing the piano, Link pretends to look for work during the day, but is actually reporting to Fletcher, who writes the script for the new show based on the information Link gives him. During the show's first airing, Link goes to exaggerated efforts to prevent the Porters from listening to it, fearing they will recognize themselves in the characters. Fletcher suspects that Link is falling in love with Bonnie, and decides to spice up the radio show by introducing himself as a new character. One evening, he appears at the Porter home in a tuxedo and top hat, claiming to need the phone for an emergency call. No one is more astonished than Link, who that day rejected Mom Porter's suggestion that he take a job at the bakery. Fletcher's appearance only reinforces Mom Porter's idea that Link should work at the bakery, and the next morning, he rises at five o'clock and starts hauling huge sacks of flour. After Fletcher sends Bonnie several hundred flowers, Link tries to call off the ruse for fear of hurting the Porters. Fletcher is inspired to pay the bakery enough money to give Pop Porter a raise for two years, and Link agrees to stay on at the Porters' for another two weeks. Fletcher takes Bonnie out on a date, and not long after, she is surprised to hear the exact words she spoke on her date on the air during the Kitty Farmer show. That night, Bonnie takes Link on a mysterious date, unwittingly leading him to his own apartment, where she hopes to influence Fletcher to get Link a job singing on the radio. Link and Fletcher, now romantic rivals, are clearly hostile to each other, but Link wins Bonnie over with a love song. Later that night, they confess their love, but their happiness is spoiled when they get home, and Jake introduces them to his lawyer, Mammal. Jake announces that he has learned of Link and Fletcher's ruse, and plans to sue Sudsy Suds in a $100,000 libel suit. Although Link tries to assure the family that he had no intention of hurting them, the Porters feel humiliated and insist that he leave. Huggins refrains from firing the writers after Fletcher proposes that they go on the air and reveal that the "Farmers" are based on a "true-to-life" family. Link agrees to the idea only because it will help the Porters win their case. After the broadcast, the Porters are besieged by reporters, and their home becomes a tourist attraction. However, Bonnie becomes disgusted by the way her family is capitalizing on their sudden popularity and moves out, accusing the family of turning their home into a freak show. Pop Porter realizes that rather than being hurt by the radio show, their family has benefited, and he fires Mammal, who was planning to increase the damages to $1,000,000. Realizing that Bonnie is in love with either Link or Fletcher, Pop Porter arranges for the three to meet at the house one evening. Unknown to them, the dining room where they meet is wired with a microphone, and their conversation is broadcast as the final episode of the Farmer Family radio show. After bickering for several minutes, Bonnie and Link finally reconcile, and Fletcher rejoices over his narrow escape from marriage. +

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.