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For Me and My Gal

For Me and My Gal(1942)


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In 1916, song-and-dance man Harry Palmer meets Jo Hayden and Jimmy K. Metcalfe, partners in a vaudeville act playing at the same small-town theater. Jimmy and Harry, who both have ambitions to make it on "the big time" circuit, quickly become rivals. One night, Harry invites Jo for coffee, plotting to get her to leave Jimmy and become his new partner. After they playfully perform a new arrangement of "For Me and My Gal," Jo, too, feels that she and Harry are great together, but does not want to hurt Jimmy. Realizing how loyal Jo is, Harry is remorseful and confesses his scheme to her. When Jo returns to her hotel, Jimmy, who is secretly in love with Jo, asks if Harry has suggested that she be his new partner. Jimmy then says that he has been planning to break up their act and insists to the suspicious Jo that he is not just making a noble sacrifice. As America prepares for war, Harry and Jo go on the road together, playing at small-time vaudeville houses. One day, while on a train to Chicago, Jo reads that Harry and his partner, comic Sid Simms, are now playing on the prestigious Orpheum circuit. Harry is embittered that he and Jo have not been so successful, and when he accidentally wanders into the private car of vaudeville headliner Eve Minard, he is dazzled. In Chicago, while Harry spends time with Eve, Jo is visited by Jimmy, who sympathizes with the unrequited love she feels for Harry. That night, Jo goes to Eve's hotel suite and tells her that she loves Harry. Eve gently tells Jo that Harry is an opportunist and not worthy of her, then, to prove her point, asks Jo to hide when Harry arrives. Eve makes Harry an offer to join her act, and when Harry realizes that Jo will not be part of the deal, he only hesitates for a moment. Back at their hotel, Harry tries to break the news to Jo, unaware that she already knows, and she pretends that she wants to go back with Jimmy. When she starts to cry, though, he realizes that he is in love with her and decides to turn Eve down. As they are about to leave for their next job, they get a telegram from their agent, Eddie Milton, saying that they are booked for the Palace in New York, and Harry proposes that they marry after their first matinee. In New York, when they discover that the telegram was suppposed to read "the Palace in Newark," they are shattered, especially as Jimmy and Sid actually are opening at the Palace, New York. Harry still wants to get married that day, but Jo insists on waiting until they really play the Palace. A short time later, Bert Waring, manager of the Palace, sees their act in Newark and offers them a booking. They are ecstatic until Harry receives a draft notice. Despite Jo's feelings that he, like her kid brother Danny, must do his duty, Harry bitterly determines that he will not lose his big chance. A few weeks later, after receiving several postponements, Harry must report for his physical the day before they open at the Palace and, in desperation, slams the lid of a heavy trunk down on his hand. The next day, after he receives a six-week deferment, he returns to his hotel to find Jimmy there, in uniform. When Jo receives a telegram informing her that Danny has been killed in action, Harry tries to comfort her, but when she sees his hand, she realizes what he has done and says that she never wants to see him again. After six weeks, Harry learns that his hand is permanently crippled and he will never be admitted to the Army. He then tries to enlist in other branches of the service, but is turned down. Some time later, Harry goes to a bond rally and runs into Sid, who suggests that Harry go with him to France as a YMCA entertainer. In Paris, Jo, who is entertaining troops, sees Jimmy and arranges to meet him after her show. Jimmy then runs into Harry, who has joined Sid. Harry admits his bitterness over not being in a real uniform, but Jimmy makes him realize that he is not such a bad person after all. Knowing that Jo is about to arrive, Jimmy leaves. Although Jo is happy to see Harry, he quickly leaves after asking for her forgiveness. One rainy night, Harry and Sid arrive in a small French town, where a desperate army doctor asks Harry to contact a convoy of ambulances that is unwittingly heading toward heavy German fire. Because Harry cannot get through on the field telephone, he jumps into his car and rides ahead. When the car breaks down, he walks on to meet the convoy and, though wounded, Harry throws a grenade to destroy the machine gun that is firing on the ambulances. At the end of the war, Jo is appearing at the Palace theater in Paris. When she sees Jimmy, Sid and Harry in the audience, she runs down to embrace Harry, and Jimmy and Sid push them onstage to do their big number, "For Me and My Gal."