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Seven Sweethearts

Seven Sweethearts(1942)

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Working titles of the film were The House of the Seven Tulips, Seven Tulips, Seven Sisters and Tulip Time. The film opens with the following written prologue: "To this great land the Dutch once came to plant their tulips...They grit their teeth, pulled in their belts, produced New York and the Roosevelts...Enriched this best of melting pots with their traditions, towns and tots...BEHOLD! in Michigan today there's still a Holland, U.S.A....A town that flaunts the windmill touch, to prove you just can't beat the Dutch." According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Frank Morgan was originally cast in the role of Mr. Van Maaster. One Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that Van Johnson was set to play the lead, but this was probably a typographical error for Van Heflin. News items also note that Ann Rutherford, Philip Van Zandt and Douglas McPhail were to be in the cast, but they were not in the released film. Frances Raeburn, who portrayed "Cornelius Van Maaster," was lead actress Kathryn Grayson's real-life sister. According to a April 30, 1942 news item, cameraman Leonard Smith shot exteriors for the film in Playa Del Rey, CA.
       Although the onscreen credits and the SAB credit Walter Reisch and Leo Townsend with writing an original screenplay, in 1949, a $200,000 lawsuit was filed against them, M-G-M and producer Joseph Pasternak by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Herczeg, claiming that they took the idea for the film from his 1903 play Seven Sweethearts. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter and Variety in March 1954, the case, which was presided over by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip H. Richard, was settled out-of-court for a "substantial" amount. The articles also related that Herczeg, who was represented by attorney Jacques Leslie, had been confined to a Nazi concentration camp when the film was released in 1942 and did not become aware of it until 1948.
       Seven Sweethearts was the first M-G-M film produced by Joseph Pasternak. Pasternak, who had been at Universal for many years and had produced young singing star Deanna Durban's highly successful films, remained at M-G-M for more than a decade. Most of his films at M-G-M were big-budget, commercially successful musicals such as Anchors Away and In the Good Old Summertime. Many featured the operatic talents of singers such as Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza.