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Here Comes the Groom

Here Comes the Groom(1951)

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The working title of this film was You Belong to Me. Paramount purchased the original story from frequent Frank Capra collaborator Robert Riskin in 1949. The picture was announced in a August 14, 1950 ParNews item as a Bing Crosby vehicle, with Irving Asher producing and Richard Haydn directing. In an early treatment by Liam O'Brien and Asher, the "Emmadel" character was specifically tailored for Jean Arthur, who had starred in some of Capra's most popular 1930s films. ParNews noted that Asher, Haydn and Crosby met at the Crosby ranch in Nevada and had planned to begin production in early October 1950. On 27 Aug, however, Haydn was replaced by Capra, and Asher became the associate producer. According to Capra's autobiography, Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman offered to release Capra, who had two pictures remaining on his Paramount contract, from his final film if he directed Here Comes the Groom. In March and April 1951 news items, Paramount officially announced that Capra was leaving the studio and dissolving Liberty Films after the completion of Here Comes the Groom. According to a March 1951 Hollywood Reporter item, The Trial, written by Virginia Van Upp, was to have been Capra's last Paramount film.
       In late October 1950, pre-production filming in Boston and Gloucester, MA was completed by second units. According to ParNews, Capra set a Paramount production record when he rehearsed, pre-recorded and filmed the musical number "Misto Cristofo Columbo" in less than one day. He used three cameras simultaneously, four projection transparency machines, five microphones and three portable recording machines. Publicity materials, included in the film's copyright records, also claim that the scene in which "Pete" telephones "George" was filmed "live." Two sets-George's newspaper office and the orphanage-were equipped with two cameras, which simultaneously recorded each side of the conversation.
       While the film's credits read "introducing Anna Maria Alberghetti," she had previously appeared in the 1950 film version of Gian-Carlo Menotti's opera The Medium (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Hollywood Reporter news items add Elaine Edwards and George David to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. As noted in modern sources, the song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" was written for Betty Hutton. Hutton, for whom contemporary sources claim Here Comes the Groom was originally purchased, was to perform the song in The Mack Sennett Girl, an unproduced biography of silent film star Mabel Normand. While the song is heard throughout Here Comes the Groom, its main production number, according to Capra's autobiography, was filmed in one take with no pre-recording. The orchestra played on a music stage while Crosby and Jane Wyman sang and danced on various sound stages, listening to the orchestra through tiny radios equipped with antenna loops. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" received an Academy Award for Best Song of 1951.
       On the weekend of July 30, 1951, the film had its world premiere in the small town of Elko, NV; Crosby, Elko's honorary mayor, owned a 25,000 acre horse ranch sixty miles outside of town. In addition to its Academy Award for Best Song, the film also received a nomination for Best Writing-Motion Picture Story (Robert Riskin and Liam O'Brien). In late September 1951, shortly after the film's national release, Franchot Tone was involved in a highly publicized scuffle with actor Tom Neal over actress Barbara Payton. For more information, please consult the entry below for Lady in the Iron Mask. Here Comes the Groom was Capra's last feature film until the 1959 United Artists release A Hole in the Head (see below).
       On September 15, 1952, Wyman reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre version of the story. Fred MacMurray co-starred and sang "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening." On March 1, 1956, Robert Sterling and Pat Crowley starred in a Lux Video Theatre version, directed by Norman Morgan and broadcast on the NBC television network.