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American jazz musician Danny Miller (Frank Sinatra) is serving in England shortly before the end of World War II, where he is asked by a duke to provide training for his son, classical musician Jamie Shellgrove (Peter Lawford). Upon returning to Brooklyn, he falls in love with Anne Fielding (Kathryn Grayson), a singer. The two of them help various characters pursue their musical dreams, including Danny's old friend Nick Lombardi (Jimmy Durante) and Leo Kardos (Billy Roy), a talented but penniless young pianist. Complications ensue when Jamie moves to Brooklyn to pursue a career in songwriting and falls in love with Anne as well.
Louis B. Mayer was a fan of Frank Sinatra and had him purchased from RKO. Sinatra later claimed that it resulted in a salary jump from $25,000 to $130,000 per picture. However, his career at MGM would end only three years later, in 1949. Hearing that Mayer was injured during a riding accident, Sinatra is said to have replied, "Nah, he fell off Ginny Simms," referring to Mayer's current paramour. The remark made its way back to Mayer and promptly got Sinatra fired from the studio.
In spite of Sinatra's reputation for a cavalier attitude towards film work at the time, which included showing up late for shoots, Peter Lawford later said, "He took direction beautifully, listened, contributed, and was generally extremely professional about the whole operation." Sinatra would later return to MGM to make films such as The Tender Trap (1955) and High Society (1956), when the studio was under the leadership of Dore Schary.
Shooting for It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) was suspended for approximately ten days from late August to early September while Jimmy Durante wrapped up his work on the film This Time for Keeps. Originally George Sidney had planned to direct; his replacement, Richard Whorf, is perhaps best know for directing episodes for a number of popular television series during the '50s and '60s, among them Gunsmoke, The Beverly Hillbillies and The Wild, Wild West.
The music and lyrics for the original songs in It Happened in Brooklyn were written by Sammy Cahn and Jules Styne and include "The Song's Gotta Come from the Heart," "The Brooklyn Bridge," "I Believe," "Time After Time," and "It's the Same Old Dream." The film also uses a variety of classical pieces, ranging from Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" to arias from Mozart's Don Giovani and Delibes' Lakme and the Russian folk song "Dark Eyes" ("Ochi chornye"). A seventeen-year-old Andre Previn received his first screen credit for playing the piano pieces performed in the film. Incidentally, the New Utrecht High School portrayed in the film really exists.
Director: Richard Whorf
Producer: Jack Cummings
Screenplay: Isobel Lennart, based on an original story by John McGowan
Cinematography: Robert Planck
Editor: Blanche Sewell
Music supervisor: Johnny Green
Cast: Frank Sinatra (Danny Webson Miller), Kathryn Grayson (Anne Fielding), Peter Lawford (Jamie Shellgrove), Jimmy Durante (Nick Lombardi), Billy Roy (Leo Kardos), Gloria Grahame (nurse), Marcy McGuire (Rae).
BW-103m. Close captioning.
by James Steffen