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Deep in My Heart

Deep in My Heart(1954)


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The working title of this film was The Romberg Story. The opening credits include the following written dedication: "To all those who love the music of Sigmund Romberg." Romberg (1887-1951) was born in Szeged, Hungary and emigrated to the United States in 1909. The prolific composer's work combined elements of Viennese operetta and American popular music, with great success. In addition to the songs listed, passages from Romberg's other compositions were used as background music throughout the film. The second half of the film includes voice-over narration by Doe Avedon as "Lillian Romberg."
       According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter and Variety, Arthur Freed was originally assigned to produce the film, with Roger Edens serving as associate producer. Instead, Deep in My Heart became Edens' first solo producing credit. A August 27, 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Joseph Fields would collaborate with Leonard Spigelgass on the screenplay, but the extent of his contribution to the final film has not been determined. According to a modern source, Fields completed a screenplay about Romberg for Freed in 1951, but when Edens took over the production, he assigned Spigelgass to rewrite it. A May 5, 1950 Daily Variety news item reported that Romberg would portray himself in the picture, marking the first time a living composer had appeared in a film based on his life, but Romberg died before production began. In October 1953, an Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Charles Walters would direct the film.
       Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety news items from March-May 1954 provide the following casting information: Kurt Kasznar was originally cast as Romberg, Louis Calhern as "Florenz Ziegfeld" and Donna Reed as Lillian. However, Reed had to withdraw from the production because of her role in The Last Time I Saw Paris . Lana Turner was announced for the role of "Gaby Deslys," and an item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column announced that both Linda Christian and Eva Gabor were being considered for the part. A news item adds Gertrude Astor to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts and news items include Esther Williams, Vera-Ellen, George Murphy and Keenan Wynn in the cast, but they did not appear in the film.
       A number of Romberg's operettas were made into films, including the M-G-M films Maytime (1937) and New Moon (1940), both of which were directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starred Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40), and the 1953 M-G-M film The Student Prince . Jos Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney were married at the time of production, and Deep in My Heart marks their only screen appearance together, as well as being Ferrer's only singing role. The film also features Gene Kelly's only onscreen appearance with his brother Fred.