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While fostering his wife's opera career, a businessman discovers he's the one with talent.
Leonard Borland is a New York based wrecking contractor whose wife, Doris, has a great interest in classical singing. Having recently slept through most of an opera, Leonard is dismayed when his father-in-law, Major Blair, informs him that Doris is taking the advice of her music-loving mother and is about to recommence singing lessons. Hugo, Doris' teacher, tells her that she could be one of the finest singers in the country were it not for Leonard's bullheaded attitude. Later, when Doris announces that she is going to give a recital, the financially strapped Leonard and his partner, Mike Craig, try to persuade their customers and associates to buy tickets to the concert in order to defray the cost of renting the auditorium. On the day of her recital, Doris discovers that Rudolf Hertz, an influential critic, was misinformed about the concert date, and Leonard is dispatched to track him down. At Hertz's home, meanwhile, opera singer Cecil Carver complains to Hertz that she cannot find a suitable baritone to sing opposite her in a new production. Leonard arrives at the Hertz home and is unable to persuade Hertz to attend the recital but does arouse Cecil's romantic interest. Cecil attends the recital, which is a big success, due largely to the number of friends in the audience. After Leonard discovers that Doris is now planning a concert tour, Cecil phones him offering to give her professional evaluation of the recital. At her apartment, she tells Leonard that Doris has only a "pleasant, little talent." Because Cecil is scheduled to sing a popular song later that evening, she asks Leonard to remind her of the lyrics and is astonished to discover that he has an excellent operatic voice. When she suggests that he take lessons with a view to singing with the Philharmonic, he balks until she insinuates he could "one-up" his wife. Later, Doris' projected tour is canceled because of competing attractions, and Cecil gives a recital in Pittsburgh, at which she successfully introduces a new American baritone, "Mr. Logan Bennett." After the concert Leonard phones Doris, who thinks he is on the road arranging wrecking contracts, and then resists Cecil's attempts to seduce him. The recitals continue in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Rossi, Cecil's manager, is excited by the press's reception of Leonard, and Leonard is really enjoying himself. However, when he returns home, he finds that Doris is being treated for shock because of a disastrous booking at a movie palace. Doris tells Leonard that she cannot make a career as a singer, but her mother has arranged a celebratory cocktail party to which she has invited Cecil and her accompanist, Wilkins. Leonard's nervous reaction to the news makes Doris realize that he has been with Cecil. When Cecil tells Doris that Leonard means nothing to her and that he has only been performing with her, everyone is dumbfounded by the notion of Leonard singing, and he is challenged to perform. He obliges with "The Toreador Song," and Doris is suitably chagrined. Later that night, Doris tells Leonard to leave and never return. A few days later, Leonard is awakened in a hotel room by the manager, who tells him that his check has bounced. He phones home but is told that Doris has gone to Palm Beach. As Craig has gone fishing, Leonard asks their secretary, Carol, to bring cash to the hotel. Rossi then calls with an offer for Leonard to sing with the Scala opera company at $500 per week, and Leonard accepts. Doris and her parents attend Leonard's debut. Just before curtain time, Leonard gets stage fright, so Cecil gives him some pills, then Wilkins gives him a potion and his makeup man another potion of which he consumes several glasses. As a result, Leonard feels quite sick and a little drunk, arrives on stage prematurely, and falls down a flight of stairs at center stage. He is dragged off, much to the audience's amusement. When it really is his cue, he is not there. Eventually, he stumbles on, catches his prop chains on a flat support and crashes to the stage again. The rest of the cast struggle to continue the opera while endeavoring to get Leonard off stage. However, he returns, wreaks more havoc and falls into the orchestra pit. After the performance, a livid Cecil slaps Leonard and tells him to leave. Doris comes to his dressing room and they make up. Craig shows up with his wife to tell Leonard that, if they can be on a train to Houston within an hour, they can get a very lucrative wrecking contract. Then, on board the train, as they all burst into a rendition of "Beyond the Blue Horizon," Craig discovers that his own wife has quite a voice.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 25 Oct 1949|
|Release Date:||1949||Production Date:||
35mm nitrate; 5 reels of 5 (ca. 10000 ft.); M27396; F43-R18-2
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)||Production Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
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