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Blue Skies

Blue Skies(1946)

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The title card on the viewed print reads: "Irving Berlin's Blue Skies." According to a September 17, 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item, Paramount planned to allot fifty minutes of screen time for Bing Crosby's singing. Of the many Berlin songs that are featured in the film, three were written expressly for the picture: "Running Around in Circles," "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" and "A Serenade to an Old-Fashioned Girl."
       According to Variety, the cue sheet for the film listed forty-two songs, but a number of them were cut before release. Hollywood Reporter news items give the following information about the production: Producer/director Mark Sandrich, who made an earlier Berlin musical, Holiday Inn (see below) with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, was scheduled to make this film, but died of a heart attack on March 4, 1945. On June 21, 1945, Hollywood Reporter announced that, on doctor's orders that he rest, producer Joseph Sistrom dropped his assignment as producer and was replaced by Sol C. Siegel. Paul Draper, who had been a dance director in the 1930s, began shooting the role of "Jed Potter," but was reported out of the picture on July 31, 1945. According to modern sources, Draper was dropped because of a difficulty with his speech. Cyd Charisse and Ris Stevens were considered for leading roles. For the roles of chorus girls, the Goldwyn Girls, Columbia's Cover Girls and Twentieth Century-Fox's Diamond Horseshoe Girls were tested, and a composite group was eventually used. Ten full-sized nightclub sets were built for the film, according to modern sources.
       Blue Skies is the film in which Astaire danced his famous "Puttin' on the Ritz" number. Shortly after the film was released, Astaire announced his retirement from films, but he returned to the screen in 1948, co-starring with Judy Garland in Easter Parade (see below) at M-G-M. He made numerous films from the late 1940s through the 1960s and did not completely retire from films until the early 1980s. Irving Berlin was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Song) for "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song," and Robert Emmett Dolan was nominated for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.