Cast & Crew
In the woods of Canada, Sgt. Mike Malone of the Royal Canadian Mounties tracks down a young French Canadian woman, Rose Marie Lemaitre, and tells her he promised her late father he would take her to Fort Macroy. After attempting to flee, Rose Marie begs Mike to let her remain in the wilderness that has always been her home, but he maintains that the rough life of the woods is not suitable for a girl. Mike introduces Rose Marie to the other men that night at dinner, but when she rebelliously dumps a bowl of soup on his head and bites him, Mike locks her in the brig, under the supervision of the hapless Barney McCorkle, the oldest corporal in the Mounties. Gradually, however, Rose Marie settles into her new life with the Mounties and develops an affection for Mike. One day, Inspector Appleby comes to review Mike's troops, and is appalled to find Rose Marie in uniform. Appleby upbraids Mike for letting a woman live with the Mounties, and Mike admits he has only ever thought of Rose Marie as a child. Appleby proposes that Rose Marie be sent to live with his cousin in Maple Rock, but she refuses to give up her freedom to live like a lady, and runs away. Mike goes after her and explains that she is becoming a beautiful woman and will someday be interested in men. While riding back to the fort, Mike and Rose Marie encounter renegade trapper James Severn Duval, and Rose Marie is attracted to him at once. Mike takes Rose Marie to the Northern Lights Hotel in Maple Rock, and delivers her into the care of bawdy proprietress Lady Jane Dunstock. Jane treats Rose Marie like a daughter and gives her lessons in dressing and behaving like a young lady. One day, Rose Marie sees James in the street and invites him to a dance that evening. James then visits an Indian village, where he is greeted by Wanda, a pretty young woman who is in love with him. James calls on Chief Black Eagle, who frowns on the white man's friendship with Wanda, and gives him the money the chief requested the previous year for a piece of land on the river. When Black Eagle tells him the price of the land has now doubled, James angrily vows to return with the money. That night, James steals the money collected at the dance, but when Rose Marie tells him the money was for charity, he gives it back. Late that night, Rose Marie sneaks away to the woods and finds James, and they begin to fall in love. James returns to Black Eagle and proposes that the chief give him the land in exchange for half of the mineral rights, but Black Eagle refuses. Mike is waiting outside when James leaves the chief's tent, and warns him to stay away from Rose Marie. Mike later calls on Rose Marie and proposes. Rose Marie confesses she has never thought of him romantically, but Mike kisses her and urges her to consider his offer. That evening, James climbs up to Rose Marie's balcony and takes her to the Indian Totem Festival of Summer. While watching the native dancing, they share a passionate kiss under Wanda's jealous glare. James brings Rose Marie home and tells her he must go away to resume his trapping, and asks her to accompany him. James then retires to his shack near Jane's house, unaware that Wanda has followed him from the Indian village. Wanda creeps in and is about to stab James with his own knife when Rose Marie comes in to say she will meet James at his camp the following day. James tells Rose Marie that if she changes her mind about going away with him, she is to signal him by singing the Indian love song. When Wanda returns to the village that night, Black Eagle angrily begins to whip her, and she stabs him, then flees in horror. The Mounties are called in to investigate, and when Mike shows Rose Marie the knife used to kill the chief, she recognizes it as James's. To protect James, Rose Marie rides to the woods and tearfully sings the Indian love song to send him away. James is captured by the Indians, however, and Mike arrives just as they are starting to burn him at the stake. Mike rescues James and arrests him for murder, and the trapper is convicted and sentenced to hang. Rose Marie pleads with Mike to intervene, declaring her love for James and faith in his innocence. Although he is crushed by this revelation, Mike reexamines the case, and when he and Barney find an Indian love ring among James's effects, they suspect a jealous lover. Mike confronts Wanda and tricks her into confessing, and James is set free. For his help in solving the crime, Barney is at last promoted to sergeant. After James's release, the grateful Rose Marie tells Mike she will do anything he wishes. Mike tells Rose Marie to put on her buckskins and go for a ride with him. In the wilderness, he tells Rose Marie she was not meant to be confined in a town, and sends her off to be with James.
A. Guy Teague
Robert G. Anderson
A. Arnold Gillespie
Oscar Hammerstein Ii
Otto A. Harbach
Arthur Hornblow Jr.
Van Alen James
Harold F. Kress
Robert Van Eps
Paul Francis Webster
Edwin B. Willis
Rose Marie (1954)
Directed by Hollywood veteran Mervyn LeRoy (Gold Diggers of 1933 , Random Harvest ), Rose Marie was MGM's first CinemaScope musical. The lavish Technicolor production features breathtaking scenery, lively musical numbers staged by the legendary Busby Berkeley, and rich performances from some of Hollywood's brightest stars of the studio era including the delightful Bert Lahr and Marjorie Main in comic supporting roles.
Rose Marie was based on the famous stage operetta originally written by Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II and Rudolph Frinl that was first produced for the New York stage in 1924. The story had already been filmed twice before at MGM, both times to great success. The 1928 silent version featured Joan Crawford in the title role, and the 1936 version starred Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. While the 1936 version had been a huge hit, it had veered quite a distance from the original material, making significant changes from the story and original musical score. With the 1954 production, director Mervyn LeRoy made a concerted effort to be much more faithful to the source material.
Rose Marie would be the last film that Mervyn LeRoy ever directed for MGM. LeRoy had worked successfully at MGM for over 20 years, but he and new studio head Dore Schary butted heads frequently, and LeRoy wanted out. Rose Marie would be his MGM swan song before moving to Warner Bros.
Both Ann Blyth and Howard Keel were at the height of their fame when they made Rose Marie. However, Keel almost didn't appear in it. Unhappy with the first draft of the screenplay, Keel made it clear to MGM that he did not want to play Captain Mike Malone. "I told my agent, 'I'm not doing Rose Marie. I read the script, and the Mounty part is a jerk,'" said Keel in his 2005 autobiography Only Make Believe: My Life in Show Business. After meeting with Dore Schary and Mervyn LeRoy, however, a new writer was assigned to improve the script, and the changes ultimately met with his satisfaction.
The shoot was a pleasant one, according to Keel, especially on location in the majestic mountains of Mammoth, California, which doubled for the Canadian Rockies. "I didn't sing with Ann Blyth," said Keel, "but she was a delightful cutie and sang beautifully. Fernando Lamas was Fernando, and he sang very well. Bert Lahr was Bert Lahr, and he and Marjorie Main were hilarious together...Bert couldn't stand her. While Marjorie Main was a talented lady, there was something very strange about her, and that drove Bert up the wall."
While this Rose Marie never reached the level of popularity of the 1936 version, it was still a solid hit that found a loyal following with audiences who loved its visual beauty and captivating romantic story. Songs include favorites from the original score such as "Rose Marie," "Totem Tom-Tom" and the famous "Indian Love Call," with a few new tunes added such as "The Right Place for a Girl," "Free to Be Free" and "Mounties."
Producer: Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Screenplay: Ronald Millar, George Froeschel (screenplay); Otto A. Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II (operetta)
Cinematography: Paul Vogel
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Merrill Pye
Music: Albert Sendrey, George Stoll, Robert Van Eps (all uncredited)
Film Editing: Harold F. Kress
Cast: Ann Blyth (Rose Marie Lemaitre), Howard Keel (Capt. Mike Malone), Fernando Lamas (James Severn Duval), Bert Lahr (Barney McCorkle), Marjorie Main (Lady Jane Dunstock), Joan Taylor (Wanda), Ray Collins (Insp. Appleby), Chief Yowlachie (Black Eagle).
C-105m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.
by Andrea Passafiume
Rose Marie (1954)
TCM Remembers Howard Keel this Monday, Nov. 15th
PLEASE NOTE SCHEDULE CHANGE
Callaway Went Thataway (1951)
Ride, Vaquero! (1953)
War Wagon (1967)
"MGM Parade Show #14"
(Keel talks with George Murphy about his latest MGM picture "Kismet")(1955)
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
HOWARD KEEL (1919-2004):
Howard Keel, the strapping singer and actor whose glorious baritone took him to stardom in the early '50s in some of MGM's best musicals, including Showboat, Kiss Me Kate and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, died on November 7 of colon cancer at his home in Palm Desert, California. He was 85.
He was born Harry Clifford Leek on April 13, 1919, in Gillespie, Illinois. His father, was a coal miner and his mother, a strict Methodist, forbid the children from enjoying popular entertainments. When his dad died, his mother relocated the family to California when Harry was still a young teenager.
After he graduated high school, Keel had a brief stint as a singing busboy, but had not considered a professional career as a vocalist....until one fateful evening in 1939. It was at this time he saw celebrated opera singer, Lawrence Tibbett, at the Hollywood Bowl. Keel was inspired, and he soon began taking voice lessons. Over the next several years, he carefully trained his voice while entering any singing contest he could find. It wasn't long before his talents caught the attention of Rodgers & Hammerstein.
In 1946, they signed him to replace John Raitt in the Broadway production of Carousel, changed his name to Howard Keel (His proper surname Leek spelled backwards), and Keel was on his way to international stardom.
After his run in Carousel ended, he sailed to London the following year to play the role of Curley in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma. He received rave reviews from the London press, and by the time he returned to the United States in 1948, he was ready to make his move into films.
Keel made his movie debut in the British thriller, The Small Voice (1948), but it would be his second film, and first for MGM, portraying Frank Butler, Betty Hutton's leading man in Annie Get Your Gun (1950), that sealed his success. Keel's several strengths as a performer: his supple, commanding singing voice; his athletic, 6'4" frame; striking, "matinee-idol" good looks; and his good humored personality made him one of the studios' top leading men over the next few years. Indeed, between 1951-55, Keel could do not wrong with the material he was given: Show Boat (1951), Lovely to Look at (1952), Kiss Me Kate (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and Kismet (1955). Clearly, he was a shining star in this golden era of the MGM musical.
By the late '50s, movie musicals began to fade out of fashion, but Keel returned to the stage and had success performing with several touring companies. He made a brief return to films when he was cast as a seaman battling carnivorous plants from outer space in the popular British sci-fi hit, The Day of the Triffids (1962). Television also provided some work, where he guest starred in some of the more popular shows in the late '60s including Run For Your Life, and The Lucy Show.
Keel would keep a low profile over the next decade, but he made an amazing comeback in 1981, when he was cast as Clayton Farlow, Ellie Ewing's (Barbara Bel Geddes) second husband in the wildly successful prime time soap, Dallas. Not only did he play the role for ten seasons, but Keel would also be in demand for many other shows throughout the '80s and '90s: The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Hart to Hart, and Walker, Texas Ranger, to name a but a few. By the late-'90s, Keel retired to his home in Palm Desert, California, where still made public appearances now and again for a tribute or benefit. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Judy; a son, Gunnar; daughters, Kaija, Kristina and Leslie; 10 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
by Michael T. Toole
Important Milestones on Howard Keel:
Moved to Southern California at age 16 (date approximate)
Worked as a singing busboy in a Los Angeles cafe
Worked for Douglas Aircraft as a manufacturing representative travelling among various company plants; work included singing; won a first prize award at the Mississippi Valley while on the road; also won an award at the Chicago Music Festival
Began singing career with the American Music Theatre in Pasadena, California
Chosen by Oscar Hammerstein II to perform on Broadway in "Carousel"; succeeded John Raitt in the leading role of Billy Bigelow; also took over the leading role of Curly in "Oklahoma"
Recreated the role of Curly when he opened the London stage production of "Oklahoma"
Made feature film debut in a non-singing supporting role in the British crime drama, "The Small Voice"
Signed by MGM; became instant star as the male lead of "Annie Get Your Gun"
Provided the offscreen narration for the Western saga, "Across the Wide Missouri", starring Clark Gable
First film opposite Kathryn Grayson, "Show Boat"
First leading role in a non-musical, "Desperate Search"
Made best-remembered film, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
Last musical starring roles, and last musicals for MGM, "Jupiter's Darling" and "Kismet"
Went to Britain to play the leading role in the action drama, "Floods of Fear"
Last leading role, "Red Tomahawk"
Last feature film appearance for over 20 years, "Arizona Bushwhackers"
Starred on the London stage in the musical "Ambassador"; later brought the role to Broadway (date approximate)
Toured the nightclub circuit, sometimes teaming up with his co-star from three MGM musicals of the 1950s, Kathryn Grayson
Toured in stage productions of musicals and comedies including "Camelot", "Man of La Mancha", "Paint Your Wagon", "I Do! I Do!", "Plaza Suite", "Gigi", "Show Boat", "Kismet", "The Most Happy Fella" and "The Fantasticks"
Teamed with Jane Powell on record-breaking national theater tour of "South Pacific"
Reprised screen role of eldest brother Adam in a touring stage version of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", opposite original screen co-star Jane Powell
Joined the cast of the CBS primetime serial drama, "Dallas", which had premiered in 1978; played Clayton Farlow
Recorded first solo album, "And I Love You So"
Was one of the hosts of the feature compilation documentary, "That's Entertainment III", revisiting the MGM musical from the coming of sound through the late 1950s
Keel was President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1958-1959.
TCM Remembers Howard Keel this Monday, Nov. 15th PLEASE NOTE SCHEDULE CHANGE
Originally, Thurl Ravenscroft was supposed to dub the voice for the Medicine Man. However, the actor could not synchronize his lip movements to Thurl's recording, so the studio called in Thurl at the last minute to play the role on-screen.
The working title of this film was Indian Love Call. The film carries no individual producer credit. Pre-production news items named Arthur Hornblow, Jr. as the film's producer. According to a January 27, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, Hornblow and Larry Weingarten worked as producers in the film's early stages, while LeRoy supervised the initial editing of the film and Jack Cummings oversaw the final editing. Neither LeRoy nor Hornblow made another film for M-G-M after Rose Marie.
The end credits include a statement thanking the government of Canada for its cooperation during the making of the film. Portions of the film were shot on location in Mammoth Lakes, CA and Jasper Park in Alberta, Canada. A June 1, 1953 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column stated that Leslie Caron had been cast as "Wanda," the Indian maiden. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds Russell Conklin to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Composer Rudolf Friml collaborated on three new songs for this film: "Free to Be Free," "I Have the Love" and "The Right Place for a Girl."
M-G-M made two earlier films based on the operetta Rose Marie. The 1928 film Rose-Marie, directed by Lucien Hubbard, starred Joan Crawford and James Murray; the 1936 musical of the same title was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. The plots of the earlier films differed somewhat from each other and from the 1954 version. Reviews alluded to the earlier films, and the New Yorker review commented that Rose Marie, "which was hot stuff back in the twenties, is with us once again, and it has no way improved with age and CinemaScope."
Released in United States Spring March 1954
Released in USA on video.
Third filmed adaptation of the play/operetta, preceded by the 1936 version, starring Jimmy Stewart and Jeanette MacDonald.
Released in United States Spring March 1954