Lucky Me


1h 40m 1954
Lucky Me

Brief Synopsis

When the members of a musical troupe take cleaning jobs, their lead singer falls for a famous songwriter.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Apr 24, 1954
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Apr 1954
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Miami, Florida, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Stereo (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1

Synopsis

In Miami, superstitious, but very lucky showgirl Candy Williams narrowly misses several catastrophes as she makes her way to the theater. There, after a performance of the show Parisian Pretties for an audience of thirteen, she and the other members of her troupe, manager Hap Snyder, comedian Duke McGee and dancer Flo Neely, are thrown out. Finding his troupe broke, stranded and hungry, the resourceful Hap tricks the show's only fan, policeman Barney Mahoney, into agreeing to make a phony arrest, after the troupe has had a chance to eat a big meal at the expensive restaurant Anton's. However, Mahoney goes off duty while they are dining, and when a different policeman responds to Hap's pre-arranged signal, the troupe must work off the meal in the kitchen to avoid a real arrest. While cleaning the hall floors of the adjoining hotel, Flo overhears Brad Carson, a successful Tin Pan Alley composer, talking to his agent, Tommy Arthur, about a musical show he is writing and wants produced. Brad is hoping that oil magnate Otis Thayer, the father of Lorraine, a possessive woman he has been seeing, will back the show after Brad presents some of his songs at Thayer's upcoming birthday party. Lorraine shows up, and although Brad tries to make it clear to her that he wants her father's backing to be a purely business deal and that his personal interest in her is limited, Lorraine persists in trying to buy his love. Later, while trying to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, Candy causes Brad to crash his car. At the garage, the mechanic offers the loan of his car, an old clunker bearing the garage's business logo. After driving away, Brad narrowly escapes a second accident caused by Candy, but feels an instant attraction for her. He invites her on a date, and lets her believe that he is a mechanic, as the sign on the car indicates. After seeing Candy and Brad leave for their date that night, Hap follows them to a beach restaurant and introduces himself, hoping to get work for the troupe in Brad's new musical. Candy gets angry and leaves when she realizes that Brad has deceived her about his identity, but Brad agrees with Hap to secretly watch the troupe practice in Anton's dining room after hours. At the rehearsal, Brad and Candy make up, and Brad offers her and her companions roles in his show. However, later, after seeing Candy and Brad rehearsing, Lorraine jealously insists that Candy cannot be in the show if Brad wants Thayer's backing. Candy, presuming that Brad gave Lorraine reason to feel possessive of him, quarrels with Brad and distrusts his declaration of love for her. However, when Brad loses interest in his show and leaves for New York, Candy realizes he does love her and decides to help him. Disguised as genteel English persons, Candy, wearing a black wig, and Duke crash Thayer's birthday party, and are soon joined by Flo and Hap, who impersonate wealthy Texans. Together they lure Lorraine into the pool. While Lorraine is out of the way drying off, Candy takes off her wig and sings Brad's songs for the guests. Having enjoyed Candy's performance, Thayer is ready to sign a check, but Lorraine interrupts, claiming misrepresentation. Meanwhile, Brad has returned to Miami to face Thayer and tactfully tells him that he is not interested in romancing Lorraine for the money. However, Thayer is aware that Lorraine manipulates men with her wealth and is still interested in backing the show. To encourage Thayer to act immediately, Hap starts a bidding competition and almost causes Thayer to back out, but Candy announces that they will only accept Thayer's money. For the second time, Thayer prepares to sign a check, but the deal is again in jeopardy when Candy, realizing the date is Friday the thirteenth, almost stops him. However, to the relief of her friends, Candy renounces her superstitions, finally realizing how lucky she is.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Apr 24, 1954
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Apr 1954
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Miami, Florida, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Stereo (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1

Articles

Lucky Me


The colorful 1954 Doris Day vehicle Lucky Me has the distinction of being the first film musical ever shot in CinemaScope. In it, Day stars as Candy Williams, a talented but highly superstitious singer in a vaudeville revue led by comedian Hap Schneider (Phil Silvers). When Candy and her fellow performers end up stranded and penniless in Miami Beach, they are forced to work at a posh resort hotel after eating a meal there without paying. It just so happens that a famous songwriter, Dick Carson (Robert Cummings), is staying at the hotel and planning to mount a lavish stage musical funded by the Texas oil baron father of his cloying girlfriend, Lorraine (Martha Hyer). When Candy and Dick meet, sparks fly immediately. However, a case of mistaken identity leads Candy to believe that Dick is not a songwriter, but an auto mechanic. Dick wants to come clean and make her the lead in his new musical, but the show's future is put in jeopardy once Lorraine catches on to Dick's feelings for Candy.

In 1954 Doris Day was at the height of her fame and under contract to Warner Brothers Studios. She had just appeared in one of the biggest box office hits of her career Calamity Jane (1953), in which she had sung the Oscar®-winning song "Secret Love." Warner Brothers wanted Lucky Me to be Day's follow up picture to Calamity Jane. There was a script ready, and the studio had lined up a talented supporting cast for her in Phil Silvers, Robert Cummings, Nancy Walker and Eddie Foy, Jr. The director would be Jack Donohue. Donohue had little film directing experience at the time, but had staged the musical numbers in Calamity Jane and had also directed the stage version of Phil Silvers' hit Broadway play Top Banana.

It was right around this time that Doris Day began to suffer from debilitating panic attacks, though there wasn't a diagnosis at the time for her symptoms of severe heart palpitations, depression and shortness of breath. All that Day knew then was that her attacks were frightening, and there was something very wrong. She would later come to describe what had happened to her as "close to a nervous breakdown" in her 1976 autobiography Her Own Story. On the advice of her doctors who assured her that there was nothing physically wrong with her, she tried to slow down, resting more and limiting the activities on her busy schedule.

When Warner Brothers pushed her to start work on Lucky Me, she was not well and kept putting the project off. She was also disappointed in the script and found it to be below the standard of her usual productions. "Robert Cummings, Phil Silvers, Nancy Walker, and Eddie Foy, Jr. were all talented, funny people," she said, "but I knew by now that no amount of talent can overcome an inferior script, especially if it is a comedy."

Day seriously considered taking a suspension from the studio rather than make Lucky Me. It was a common practice for actors who didn't want to appear in a film that they believed was inferior. A close friend of Day's, however, talked her out of abandoning the picture, advising her that it was bad form not to honor a contractual commitment. Day agreed and made the decision to give Lucky Me her very best effort no matter what.

Although it is impossible to tell just from watching, Lucky Me was not an easy film for Day to make. "Whereas I had always been able to get into a part with effortless vitality," she said, "now it was all I could do to get myself up to a performing level." She tried to rest as much as possible and not exhaust herself in an effort to keep the panic attacks at bay. "I attempted to do this by resting in my dressing room as much as I could, avoiding all interviews, and closing the set to visitors," she said. "Some days, if the shooting schedule was too long, I asked the director to shorten it. Judy Garland was on the lot at the same time making A Star Is Born [1954]; she was being difficult and erratic about her hours and the press lumped us together as the Warner Brothers prima donnas. I tried not to let that bother me. My primary obligation was to keep myself well enough to finish the picture. Nothing else really mattered."

True to her word, Doris Day brought her characteristic professionalism to Lucky Me and did her very best to elevate the material. She enjoyed a good rapport with her co-stars, and her favorite number to sing in the film was "I Speak to the Stars." By the time shooting was completed, she was feeling much better and was on the road to recovery.

When Lucky Me opened in the spring of 1954, it was not received as one of Doris Day's best films. However, Day's fans will enjoy seeing this lesser known musical that features some charming numbers including "The Superstition Song," which opens the film, and "Men," a comic song performed with Phil Silvers.

Watch for a very young (and dark-haired) Angie Dickinson in an uncredited bit part during the party scene at the end of Lucky Me. It was Dickinson's first job in a Hollywood movie--the fortunate result of winning a television contest.

Producer: Henry Blanke
Director: Jack Donohue
Screenplay: James O'Hanlon (screenplay and story); Irving Elinson, Robert O'Brien (screenplay); Frank Davis (contributor to screenplay, uncredited)
Cinematography: Wilfred M. Cline
Art Direction: John Beckman
Music: Ray Heindorf, Howard Jackson (both uncredited)
Film Editing: Owen Marks
Cast: Doris Day (Candy Williams), Robert Cummings (Dick Carson), Phil Silvers (Hap Schneider), Eddie Foy, Jr. (Duke McGee), Nancy Walker (Flo Neely), Martha Hyer (Lorraine Thayer), Bill Goodwin (Otis Thayer), Marcel Dalio (Anton), Hayden Rorke (Tommy Arthur), James Burke (Mahoney).
C-101m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.

by Andrea Passafiume

Lucky Me

Lucky Me

The colorful 1954 Doris Day vehicle Lucky Me has the distinction of being the first film musical ever shot in CinemaScope. In it, Day stars as Candy Williams, a talented but highly superstitious singer in a vaudeville revue led by comedian Hap Schneider (Phil Silvers). When Candy and her fellow performers end up stranded and penniless in Miami Beach, they are forced to work at a posh resort hotel after eating a meal there without paying. It just so happens that a famous songwriter, Dick Carson (Robert Cummings), is staying at the hotel and planning to mount a lavish stage musical funded by the Texas oil baron father of his cloying girlfriend, Lorraine (Martha Hyer). When Candy and Dick meet, sparks fly immediately. However, a case of mistaken identity leads Candy to believe that Dick is not a songwriter, but an auto mechanic. Dick wants to come clean and make her the lead in his new musical, but the show's future is put in jeopardy once Lorraine catches on to Dick's feelings for Candy. In 1954 Doris Day was at the height of her fame and under contract to Warner Brothers Studios. She had just appeared in one of the biggest box office hits of her career Calamity Jane (1953), in which she had sung the Oscar®-winning song "Secret Love." Warner Brothers wanted Lucky Me to be Day's follow up picture to Calamity Jane. There was a script ready, and the studio had lined up a talented supporting cast for her in Phil Silvers, Robert Cummings, Nancy Walker and Eddie Foy, Jr. The director would be Jack Donohue. Donohue had little film directing experience at the time, but had staged the musical numbers in Calamity Jane and had also directed the stage version of Phil Silvers' hit Broadway play Top Banana. It was right around this time that Doris Day began to suffer from debilitating panic attacks, though there wasn't a diagnosis at the time for her symptoms of severe heart palpitations, depression and shortness of breath. All that Day knew then was that her attacks were frightening, and there was something very wrong. She would later come to describe what had happened to her as "close to a nervous breakdown" in her 1976 autobiography Her Own Story. On the advice of her doctors who assured her that there was nothing physically wrong with her, she tried to slow down, resting more and limiting the activities on her busy schedule. When Warner Brothers pushed her to start work on Lucky Me, she was not well and kept putting the project off. She was also disappointed in the script and found it to be below the standard of her usual productions. "Robert Cummings, Phil Silvers, Nancy Walker, and Eddie Foy, Jr. were all talented, funny people," she said, "but I knew by now that no amount of talent can overcome an inferior script, especially if it is a comedy." Day seriously considered taking a suspension from the studio rather than make Lucky Me. It was a common practice for actors who didn't want to appear in a film that they believed was inferior. A close friend of Day's, however, talked her out of abandoning the picture, advising her that it was bad form not to honor a contractual commitment. Day agreed and made the decision to give Lucky Me her very best effort no matter what. Although it is impossible to tell just from watching, Lucky Me was not an easy film for Day to make. "Whereas I had always been able to get into a part with effortless vitality," she said, "now it was all I could do to get myself up to a performing level." She tried to rest as much as possible and not exhaust herself in an effort to keep the panic attacks at bay. "I attempted to do this by resting in my dressing room as much as I could, avoiding all interviews, and closing the set to visitors," she said. "Some days, if the shooting schedule was too long, I asked the director to shorten it. Judy Garland was on the lot at the same time making A Star Is Born [1954]; she was being difficult and erratic about her hours and the press lumped us together as the Warner Brothers prima donnas. I tried not to let that bother me. My primary obligation was to keep myself well enough to finish the picture. Nothing else really mattered." True to her word, Doris Day brought her characteristic professionalism to Lucky Me and did her very best to elevate the material. She enjoyed a good rapport with her co-stars, and her favorite number to sing in the film was "I Speak to the Stars." By the time shooting was completed, she was feeling much better and was on the road to recovery. When Lucky Me opened in the spring of 1954, it was not received as one of Doris Day's best films. However, Day's fans will enjoy seeing this lesser known musical that features some charming numbers including "The Superstition Song," which opens the film, and "Men," a comic song performed with Phil Silvers. Watch for a very young (and dark-haired) Angie Dickinson in an uncredited bit part during the party scene at the end of Lucky Me. It was Dickinson's first job in a Hollywood movie--the fortunate result of winning a television contest. Producer: Henry Blanke Director: Jack Donohue Screenplay: James O'Hanlon (screenplay and story); Irving Elinson, Robert O'Brien (screenplay); Frank Davis (contributor to screenplay, uncredited) Cinematography: Wilfred M. Cline Art Direction: John Beckman Music: Ray Heindorf, Howard Jackson (both uncredited) Film Editing: Owen Marks Cast: Doris Day (Candy Williams), Robert Cummings (Dick Carson), Phil Silvers (Hap Schneider), Eddie Foy, Jr. (Duke McGee), Nancy Walker (Flo Neely), Martha Hyer (Lorraine Thayer), Bill Goodwin (Otis Thayer), Marcel Dalio (Anton), Hayden Rorke (Tommy Arthur), James Burke (Mahoney). C-101m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The role played by Robert Cummings was listed in some reviews as "Dick," although the character is called "Brad Carson" in the film. Gordon MacRae, who had teamed with Doris Day on several previous Warner Bros. productions, was originally cast in that role, according to a March 1953 Los Angeles Examiner news item. A February 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that William Jacobs would produce the film, pending his recovery from illness; however, Jacobs died on September 30, 1953. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Hollywood Reporter news items add Havis Davenport, Paul Haakon, Larri Thomas, Lucy McAleer and Molly McCart to the cast. Although a November 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that the film would be presented in 3-D, the film was shot in wide-screen only. The filming of the pie-throwing scene, for which twenty-four pies were baked, was described in a January 1954 Los Angeles Daily News article. Exteriors were filmed on location in Miami, according to December 1953 Hollywood Reporter news items. Lucky Me marked the feature-film debut of actress Angie Dickinson.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video March 25, 1992

Released in United States Spring April 1954

Screen debut for Angie Dickinson.

CinemaScope

Released in United States on Video March 25, 1992

Released in United States Spring April 1954