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Doris Day's second film, My Dream Is Yours (1949), was also her second with director Michael Curtiz and co-star Jack Carson. She would make a total of four films with Curtiz, and three with Carson. Day became very fond of both men and credited them with helping her to learn the ropes as a film actor.
Michael Curtiz had taken a chance on the band singer who had never acted before, and cast Day in Romance on the High Seas (1948). In her autobiography, Day recalled that Hungarian-born Curtiz, who was famous for mangling the English language, advised her early on not to take acting lessons. "I sometimes like girl who is not actress," he told her. "Is less pretend, and more heart." He told her that no matter what the role, her own strong personality would come through, and that's what makes stars. "You have natural thing there in you, should no one ever disturb." Day heeded his advice, and found that acting came as naturally to her as singing. And, in fact, she realized that she preferred acting and singing in films to singing live on radio or with a band. Even before shooting was finished on Romance on the High Seas, Curtiz realized that Doris Day would become a star, and began preparing the follow-up film, My Dream Is Yours.
A satire of the radio industry, My Dream Is Yours is a loose remake of Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934), with elements of Day's own pre-movie career as a radio and band singer. Jack Carson is a radio talent scout fed up with arrogant radio crooner Lee Bowman. Determined to create a new star, Carson meets Day, a struggling singer who spins platters for a living, and finds his next star. The strong supporting cast includes Adolphe Menjou, Eve Arden, S.Z. ("Cuddles") Sakall, and Edgar Kennedy in his final film role. Along with the sprightly songs by Al Dubin, Harry Warren, and Ralph Freed, the highlight of the film is an animated dream sequence featuring Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird. This caused the only problem on an otherwise pleasant and uneventful production. The studio wanted the sequence to be all-animation. Curtiz fought to keep the mix of animation and live action, and won the battle.
During the making of Romance on the High Seas, Day found Carson extremely helpful, teaching her the technical tricks of movie acting, such as hitting camera marks without looking down, angling for light and camera, and sustaining an even performance through multiple takes and camera angles. Day and Carson had both recently separated from their spouses, and they began dating. The relationship continued during the filming of My Dream Is Yours. But Day found that Carson was uncommunicative and drank too much, and she wasn't ready to get into another serious relationship. After making one more film together, It's a Great Feeling (1949), they drifted apart. But she was always grateful for his professional help, and for the companionship he provided during a difficult time in her personal life.
Upon release, My Dream Is Yours earned warm, if not ecstatic notices. Typical of its reception was this review in Variety stating: "its familiar pattern of comedy and songs is pleasant enough to rate it as average, light entertainment and ticket sales should correspond." The film was no blockbuster, but it did respectable business at the box office. More important, it was another step up the career ladder for Doris Day, who would become one of the top stars of the 1950s.
Director Martin Scorsese would later cite My Dream Is Yours as a formative film experience in his book and documentary, A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies: "My Dream Is Yours had all the trappings of a Doris Day vehicle produced on the Warner Bros. assembly line. It seemed to be pure escapist fare. But the comedy had a bitter edge. You saw the performers' personal relationships turning sour and being sacrificed to their careers....The film makes you aware of how difficult, if not impossible, relationships are between creative people. It was a major influence on my own musical, New York, New York. I took that tormented romance and made it the very subject of the film."
Producer/Director: Michael Curtiz
Screenplay: Harry Kurnitz, Dane Lussier, Allen Rivkin, Laura Kerr, based on the story "Hot Air," by Jerry Wald & Paul Moss
Editor: Folmar Blangsted
Cinematography: Ernest Haller, Wilfred M. Cline
Costume Design: Milo Anderson
Art Direction: Robert Haas
Music: Harry Warren
Principal Cast: Jack Carson (Doug Blake), Doris Day (Martha Gibson), Lee Bowman (Gary Mitchell), Adolphe Menjou ( Thomas Hutchins), Eve Arden (Vivian Martin), S.Z. Sakall (Felix Hofer), Edgar Kennedy (Uncle Charlie), Sheldon Leonard (Grimes), Franklin Pangborn (Sourpuss Manager).
C-102m. Closed captioning.
by Margarita Landazuri