Meet Me in Las Vegas


1h 52m 1956
Meet Me in Las Vegas

Brief Synopsis

A ballerina becomes a gambler's lucky charm.

Film Details

Also Known As
Viva Las Vegas, Weekend at Las Vegas
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 9, 1956
Premiere Information
World premiere in Las Vegas, NV: 21 Feb 1956
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Las Vegas--Sands Hotel, Nevada, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
10,087ft

Synopsis

Each year, rancher Chuck Rodwell returns to the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada where he hopes to make a fortune using that year's profits to gamble, despite years of losses at the casino's tables. One day in the casino, as temperamental prima ballerina Maria Corvier storms out of her rehearsal in the Copa Room, Chuck grabs her hand for good luck during his game of roulette and consequently wins. Insulted that she is forced to perform her "high art" in a chaotic hotel, Maria haughtily refuses her share of Chuck's profits, but later apologizes for her behavior. When Chuck once again wins a slot machine jackpot as he takes Maria's hand, he attributes his winning streak to her. Returning to her room, Maria calls her manager, Pierre, to break the Las Vegas engagement, but learns she must fulfill it. Meanwhile Maria's chaperone, Mme. Seri Hatvany, having seen Chuck, tells Maria that romantic love motivated her during her dancing career, but Maria insists that her only love is dancing. Later, after hours of losing at the gambling tables, Chuck goes to Maria's room, where he shares his belief that she is his good-luck charm and begs her to test his theory on a slot machine. Maria is bewildered when they win the jackpot two times in row and agrees to a game at a casino roulette table, where they win repeatedly. When Chuck, in his excitement, kisses Maria, she is immediately smitten with the rancher. Despite being anxious to earn more winnings, Chuck agrees to accompany Maria to dinner, after she pleads to spend time alone with him. While watching the evening stage performance, Maria bemoans that she has missed out on life, having been sheltered by the ballet. After spending hours successfully gambling at various casinos, Chuck and Maria arrive at the New Frontier and within minutes have won a considerable sum. On express orders from the casino's owner, dancer Kelly Donavan, one of Chuck's old girl friends, flirtatiously lures the rancher away from the table to prevent him from bankrupting the house. She then invites Chuck and Maria to the Silver Slipper where she performs a sultry stage number. A drunken Maria, jealous of Kelly's sexy routine, stumbles onto the stage and joins the chorus girls in high kicks and lewd hip movements while a photographer catches a snapshot. Later in her hotel room, Maria complains to Seri that she has no skills to seduce Chuck, and then refuses to take Chuck's call. Fearing he will gamble the night's profits away, Chuck gives the money to friend and blackjack dealer Lotzi for safekeeping. When the next morning's paper features a picture of the drunken ballerina's escapade, Sands manager Tom Culdane, fearing bad press, cancels Maria's contract. However later, the Sands' owners insist that the publicity will pack the house and order Culdane to book additional performances. Fearing the temperamental dancer will not accept his apology, Culdane asks Chuck for help, but Chuck refuses, saying he wants only to split the profits and leave Maria alone. Determined to have her own way, Maria approaches Culdane to demand that her contract be upheld, thus solving Culdane's dilemma. That night, Chuck is entranced by Maria's performance during rehearsal and compliments her. Maria at first rebuffs him, but seeing Kelly waiting to compete for Chuck's affections, Maria agrees to go out with him, thus defeating Kelly's efforts. As Maria prepares to leave, Chuck, sensing young Japanese singer Mitsuko Sawamura's stage fright during an audition, encourages her to join him in a crowd-pleasing duet. Touched by his gentle nature, Maria asks to know more about him, prompting Chuck to take her to his ranch. As they tour the property, Chuck and Maria's luck extends to the hens, who suddenly deliver dozens of eggs; to a pregnant cow, who suddenly delivers a healthy calf; and to a derelict oil rig which suddenly spouts the "liquid gold" as they pass it. Later, when his mother, Miss Hattie, declares Maria is the perfect wife, Chuck complains that he has only known her one day and the romance of the ranch will wear off if she was forced to stay there. However, after Maria joins them wearing Chuck's grandmother's western dress, Chuck is so entranced he invites her to stay for dinner. That night, when Miss Hattie asks if Maria has plans for Chuck, the dancer laments that they do not have much in common, but Miss Hattie retorts that they will have living together in common. When Chuck and the ranchhands serenade Maria and then entice her into country-western dancing, the versatile dancer enthralls the crowd with her quick steps. Later, as they leave for Las Vegas, Maria ponders life on the ranch and her growing love for Chuck, who then proposes to her. Upon reaching the hotel, Maria announces her engagement to the newly arrived Pierre, explaining that she will spend six months at the ranch and six months performing. Although he congratulates her on the decision, Pierre secretly hopes to dissuade Maria from the marriage by cunningly suggesting the couple prove their luck in the casino. Dozens of people crowd around the now famously lucky couple to witness the winning streak, but the roulette dice repeatedly fall on losing numbers. When a dejected Maria returns to her room, Pierre happily reports to Seri that "whatever [luck] they had, they lost." Pierre finds Chuck at the bar, and after the rancher admits that the love spell has "broken," Pierre advises him to allow Maria to concentrate on her work the following day. The next morning, Maria and Chuck, disappointed by the change in luck at the tables, agree that that their romance has also come to an end. That night, Maria performs an elaborate modern dance stage rendition of "Frankie and Johnny" with co-star Kelly, while Chuck looks on, still enchanted by the ballerina. When a young bride and groom at Lotzi's table tell him that they have had no gambling luck, but realize their fortune in having found each other, Chuck rushes to Maria's dressing room, where the couple renew their vows and agree to quit gambling.

Cast

Dan Dailey

Chuck Rodwell

Cyd Charisse

Maria Corvier

Agnes Moorehead

Miss Hattie

Lili Daryas

Seri Hatvany

Jim Backus

Tom Culdane

Oscar Karlweis

Lotzi

Liliane Montevecchi

Lilli

Cara Williams

Kelly Donovan

Betty Lynn

Young bride

The Slate Brothers

Themselves

Pete Rugolo

Conductor

John Brascia

Specialty dancer

John Harding

Worried boss

Benny Rubin

Croupier

Jack Daly

Meek husband

Henny Backus

Bossy wife

Jerry Colonna

Himself/MC at Silver Springs

Paul Henreid

Pierre

Lena Horne

Frankie Laine

Mitsuko Sawamura

The Four Aces

Sammy Davis Jr.

Narrator for "Franky and Johnny" seq

Pier Angeli

Vic Damone

Tony Martin

Debbie Reynolds

Frank Sinatra

Elaine Stewart

Dewey Martin

Jeff Richards

Casse Jaeger

Dancing partner, "Frankie and Johnny" number

William Chatham

Dancing partner, "Frankie and Johnny" number

Dabbs Greer

Mr. Smith-Johnson

Frank Kumagai

Gus

June Mccall

Smith's girl

Marc Wilder

Prince Charming

Allen Wood

Bellboy at Sands

Allan Ray

Bellboy at Sands

Luana Lee

Cocktail waitress at Sands

Michael Duncan

Guest at Sands

James Farrar

Guest at Sands

Jim O'neil

Guest at Sands

Anthony Merrill

Guest at Sands

Lillian Powell

Nervous woman

Al Rhein

Roulette dealer

Dulcy Jordan

Chorus girl

Phil Arnold

Blackjack player

Mel Welles

Roulette player

Michael Logothetis

Maitre d' in Copa Room

Michael Kostrick

Man in wings

Gisele Verlaine

Players at New Frontier

Perry Sheehan

Player at New Frontier

Bob Dix

Player at New Frontier

Ronald Green

Player at New Frontier

Lennie Bremen

Croupier, New Frontier

Joey Ray

Croupier, New Frontier

Billy Mclean

Bellboy

Frank Wilcox

Owner

John Eldredge

Owner

Dick Elliott

Owner

Matty Fain

Owner

Ben Roseman

Owner

Ralph Gamble

Owner

Benny Burt

Owner

Katherine Sheldon

Old lady

Kate Mckenna

Old lady

Roscoe Ates

Scotty

Lee Tung Foo

Lee

Guy Wilkerson

Ranchhand

Phil Rich

Ranchhand

Hank Worden

Ranchhand

Chuck Courtney

Ranchhand

Billy Dix

Ranchhand

Peter Lorre

Impatient player

Gloria Rhoads

Passing girl

Susan Ames

Showgirl

Jackie Mitchell

Showgirl

Mary Malone

Showgirl

Shirley Buchanan

Showgirl

Betty Ames

Showgirl

Barbara Drake

Showgirl

Zell Russell

Showgirl

Marjorie May

Showgirl

Pat Denise

Specialty

Peggy Maley

Girl

Helen Spring

Frank Kreig

Peggy Moffett

Barbara Knudsen

Frank Hines

Dan Quigg

Mike Mahoney

Photo Collections

Meet Me in Las Vegas - Costume Sketches
Here are a few original costume design sketches by Helen Rose for MGM's Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956), starring Cyd Charisse. Note the approvals by producer Joe Pasternak and director Roy Rowland.

Film Details

Also Known As
Viva Las Vegas, Weekend at Las Vegas
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 9, 1956
Premiere Information
World premiere in Las Vegas, NV: 21 Feb 1956
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Las Vegas--Sands Hotel, Nevada, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
10,087ft

Award Nominations

Best Score

1956

Articles

Meet Me in Las Vegas


You can't really classify Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) as a Frank Sinatra picture since he only makes a brief cameo appearance in it but it certainly has a "Frank in Vegas" vibe because it was filmed at the Sands Hotel, which became Sinatra's favorite Las Vegas performance venue in the fifties. The film also captures the glitz and glamour of the neon-lit gamblers' paradise in its martini-era prime.

Front and center in this Joe Pasternak concoction are Dan Dailey as a Nevada rancher addicted to roulette and Cyd Charisse as a ballerina who turns out to be his "Lady Luck" at the gaming tables. While the crux of the plot hinges on their teaming up for untold fortunes at the casinos, and eventually romance, the fun of the film is spotting the various celebrity guest spots. Yes, that's Sinatra hitting the jackpot on a slot machine. Look over there, it's Debbie Reynolds sharing a coke with singer Vic Damone. Isn't that Peter Lorre at the blackjack table snarling, "Hit me, you creep!" If you stay on your guard, you'll also catch glimpses of other Las Vegas entertainers like Dean Martin, Jerry Colonna, and Tony Martin. The Oscar® nominated score by George Stoll and Johnny Green is also a plus and includes guest appearances by Lena Horne performing "If You Can't Dream," and Frankie Laine singing "Hell Hath No Fury."

The real show-stopper in Meet Me in Las Vegas is Sammy Cahn's thirteen minute bop parody of the ballad of "Frankie and Johnny." At the time, MGM was under the relatively new management of Dore Schary and he was against producing more musicals because they were too expensive in relation to their box office returns. According to Cyd Charisse, Schary, with little prior notice, showed up on the set one day to watch the rehearsal of the "Frankie and Johnny" number, which was still in the planning stages. Despite the pressure she felt, Charisse, with the help of choreographer Hermes Pan, put on a spectacular presentation that convinced Schary to keep the costly number in the film. "I went back to my dressing room and I was absolutely drained," Charisse recalls in The Two of Us by Tony Martin and Cyd Charisse. "My head ached and I saw lights flashing in front of my eyes. I had to go home and, when I got there, I couldn't see, or just barely. Half my vision was gone. Tony was frightened for me and quickly sent for a doctor. The diagnosis was that it was just exhaustion, coupled with nervous strain...I needed rest. I was fine the next day. I think it was all worth it, because the "Frankie and Johnny" number made the movie and both became big hits. The vocal to that number, special lyrics by Sammy Cahn, was done by Sammy Davis, Jr. whose rendition could never be topped."

Director: Roy Rowland
Producer: Joe Paskternak
Screenplay: Isobel Lennart
Cinematography: Robert Bronner
Editor: Albert Akst
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary
Music: Nicholas Brodszky, Johnny Green, George E. Stoll
Cast: Dan Dailey (Chuck Rodwell), Cyd Charisse (Maria Corvier), Agnes Moorehead (Miss Hattie), Lili Darvas (Sari Hatvani), Jim Backus (Tom Culdane).
C-113m. Letterboxed. Close captioning.

by Jeff Stafford
Meet Me In Las Vegas

Meet Me in Las Vegas

You can't really classify Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) as a Frank Sinatra picture since he only makes a brief cameo appearance in it but it certainly has a "Frank in Vegas" vibe because it was filmed at the Sands Hotel, which became Sinatra's favorite Las Vegas performance venue in the fifties. The film also captures the glitz and glamour of the neon-lit gamblers' paradise in its martini-era prime. Front and center in this Joe Pasternak concoction are Dan Dailey as a Nevada rancher addicted to roulette and Cyd Charisse as a ballerina who turns out to be his "Lady Luck" at the gaming tables. While the crux of the plot hinges on their teaming up for untold fortunes at the casinos, and eventually romance, the fun of the film is spotting the various celebrity guest spots. Yes, that's Sinatra hitting the jackpot on a slot machine. Look over there, it's Debbie Reynolds sharing a coke with singer Vic Damone. Isn't that Peter Lorre at the blackjack table snarling, "Hit me, you creep!" If you stay on your guard, you'll also catch glimpses of other Las Vegas entertainers like Dean Martin, Jerry Colonna, and Tony Martin. The Oscar® nominated score by George Stoll and Johnny Green is also a plus and includes guest appearances by Lena Horne performing "If You Can't Dream," and Frankie Laine singing "Hell Hath No Fury." The real show-stopper in Meet Me in Las Vegas is Sammy Cahn's thirteen minute bop parody of the ballad of "Frankie and Johnny." At the time, MGM was under the relatively new management of Dore Schary and he was against producing more musicals because they were too expensive in relation to their box office returns. According to Cyd Charisse, Schary, with little prior notice, showed up on the set one day to watch the rehearsal of the "Frankie and Johnny" number, which was still in the planning stages. Despite the pressure she felt, Charisse, with the help of choreographer Hermes Pan, put on a spectacular presentation that convinced Schary to keep the costly number in the film. "I went back to my dressing room and I was absolutely drained," Charisse recalls in The Two of Us by Tony Martin and Cyd Charisse. "My head ached and I saw lights flashing in front of my eyes. I had to go home and, when I got there, I couldn't see, or just barely. Half my vision was gone. Tony was frightened for me and quickly sent for a doctor. The diagnosis was that it was just exhaustion, coupled with nervous strain...I needed rest. I was fine the next day. I think it was all worth it, because the "Frankie and Johnny" number made the movie and both became big hits. The vocal to that number, special lyrics by Sammy Cahn, was done by Sammy Davis, Jr. whose rendition could never be topped." Director: Roy Rowland Producer: Joe Paskternak Screenplay: Isobel Lennart Cinematography: Robert Bronner Editor: Albert Akst Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary Music: Nicholas Brodszky, Johnny Green, George E. Stoll Cast: Dan Dailey (Chuck Rodwell), Cyd Charisse (Maria Corvier), Agnes Moorehead (Miss Hattie), Lili Darvas (Sari Hatvani), Jim Backus (Tom Culdane). C-113m. Letterboxed. Close captioning. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles for the film were Weekend at Las Vegas and Viva Las Vegas. Preceeding the opening credits, members of the musical group "The Four Aces" appear onscreen, with each framed by a playing card, singing the title song. The opening onscreen cast credits differ in order from the closing credits. A written prologue following the opening credits reads: "In the early days of our country's history, the West was a place from which men took vast quantities of gold. Now-at least-they're bringing it all back." Although onscreen credit is given to Eastman Color, August and September 1955 Hollywood Reporter production charts list Ansco Color.
       Throughout Meet Me in Las Vegas, lead actress Cyd Charisse performs a variety of dancing styles including ballet, modern, country western, can-can and jazz. According to a September 1, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, conductor and pianist Pete Rugolo, who is credited in the onscreen as "Conductor," performed with his 20-piece orchestra in all floor show and dance numbers seen in the film. Sammy Davis, Jr., who sang the lyrics for the "Frankie and Johnny" number, was heard but not seen onscreen. Several guest stars who had brief appearances in the film as audience members for the casino shows or casual casino patrons, but were not credited onscreen, included: Pier Angeli, Vic Damone, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Elaine Stewart, Dewey Martin, Jeff Richards and Tony Martin, who is married to Cyd Charisse. Actress Henny Backus, who played "bossy wife," was the wife of Jim Backus, who played "Tom Culdane."
       Although a October 3, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Marlene Dietrich and Jimmy Durante to the cast, they did not appear in the released film. A October 6, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item adds the following dancers to the cast: Herman Boden, Buddy Bryan, Gene Dailey, Ward Ellis, Dick Humphreys, Maurice Kelly, Clark Lee, Roy Palmer, Frank Radcliffe, Frank Reynolds, Jerry Rush and Buddy Spencer, but the appearance of these dancers and actors in the released film has not been confirmed. Other 1955 Hollywood Reporter news items add Gay Gallagher, Charles Campbell and Ken McClure to the cast. Modern sources adds Steve Forrest to the cast but he was not discernable in the viewed print. Modern sources also add Robert Fuller as a dancer and Jerry Velasco, as the piano player accompanying Lena Horne. Portions of the film were shot on location at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
       Meet Me in Las Vegas received an Academy Award nomination for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, but lost to The King and I. AA February 16, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that on the eve of the film's world premiere in Las Vegas, The Milton Berle Show was to broadcast an hour-long television tribute to Pasternak and the film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1956

CinemaScope

Eastmancolor

Released in United States Spring March 1956