She's Back on Broadway


1h 35m 1953
She's Back on Broadway

Brief Synopsis

A fading Hollywood star returns to the stage to work with the man who discovered her.

Film Details

Also Known As
Back to Broadway
Genre
Drama
Musical
Release Date
Mar 14, 1953
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 Mar 1953
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Beverly Hills, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Fearing that her once successful film career is now "washed up," actress Catherine Terris reluctantly takes the advice of her agent, Mitchell Parks, and accepts the lead role in a Broadway musical revue that is to be directed by her former flame, Rick Sommers. The brilliant, but moody Rick resents learning from John Webber, the producer of the show, that Catherine has been cast without his input and argues that she will let them down, as six years before she left a show he was directing when offered a film role. Rick relents after John tells him that having Catherine's name connected with the show has doubled the financial backing in two days. Later at auditions, Rick recognizes the talent of an unknown dancer, Gordon Evans, and fights to give him a lead role, just as he once did for Catherine. Rehearsals begin after the performers have been cast, including Rick's current girl friend, dancer Karen Keene. Then a motion picture executive, Lew Ludlow, tells Rick that Mitch is Catherine's boyfriend and has raised the last half of the money, hoping that a Broadway success will lead to her being "rediscovered" by the film industry. Angry that he is expected to make Catherine "look good" so that she can again walk out on him, Rick harasses her during rehearsals until she walks off the stage. When John confronts Rick about his behavior, Rick quits and John takes over temporarily until a new director is found. That evening Rick tells Karen that, six years before, under his direction Catherine first became a success, but then she left the show and jeopardized its financial future. Although Karen wonders if there is more to the story, she gently shows him a newspaper article about his departure from the show, which accuses him of throwing a tantrum and questions his viability as a director. The next day, when a new article reports that Rick slugged the columnist, Karen accuses Catherine, in front of the rest of the cast, of getting Rick fired. After consulting with John, Catherine, who is still in love with Rick, goes to his apartment and asks him to return to the show. Although surprised to learn from him that Mitch, who has often proposed marriage to her, is one of the backers, Catherine is also amused that Rick is jealous. She admits that she has hoped for years that they would reconcile and they kiss. However, when Karen shows up, Catherine realizes that Rick has been seeing her and leaves. Rick returns to the show and, making up for lost time, rehearses the cast for long hours, but three days before they are to open in New Haven, Connecticut, he admits to Catherine that although she is doing well, the show is "flat and dull." When the troupe performs in New Haven, the reviewers agree, praising Catherine and Gordon, while damning the show. Back in New York, John offers to finance time for rewrites and to work out the kinks in the show. Rick is willing until Ludlow informs him that, based on Catherine's good New Haven reviews, his company has offered her an incredibly good motion picture deal. Assuming that Catherine has accepted, Rick gives word to send the cast home, but then Catherine shows up for rehearsal. Taking Rick aside, she tells him she would rather stay with him, unless they have no future together, and asks him if she should accept the offer. When he advises her to go, she leaves the theater. However, Karen is nearby and quietly urges him to pursue her. After catching up with Catherine on the street, Rick asks her to stay. Rehearsals resume and the troupe works together to improve the show.

Film Details

Also Known As
Back to Broadway
Genre
Drama
Musical
Release Date
Mar 14, 1953
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 Mar 1953
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Beverly Hills, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Warnercolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

She's Back on Broadway


Virginia Mayo is most famous as the tough moll playing against James Cagney in White Heat (1949), but the actress had a matter-of-fact sensuality that worked in noirs, westerns, and musicals. Here, in a movie titled to evoke memories of her previous musical She's Working Her Way Through College (1952), Mayo plays theater-turned-film star Catherine Terris who slinks back to Broadway after her movie career goes belly up. Problem is, the part offered is in a play directed by theater impresario Gordon Evans (Gene Nelson), the man she escaped many years ago. Ironically, Mayo had also come to Hollywood via Broadway, but was let go from Goldwyn after spurning Howard Hawks. (Undeterred, she moved on to Warner Brothers.) Directed under duress by former "Our Gang" gagwriter and director Gordon Douglas (who privately admitted to interviewers years later that "the script wasn't good" and Mayo only did the picture to avoid a suspension), Mayo still captures the eye in dance numbers that highlight her animal appeal. Even though she was only five foot five, her dancer's legs in action stretch out for miles.

By Violet LeVoit
She's Back On Broadway

She's Back on Broadway

Virginia Mayo is most famous as the tough moll playing against James Cagney in White Heat (1949), but the actress had a matter-of-fact sensuality that worked in noirs, westerns, and musicals. Here, in a movie titled to evoke memories of her previous musical She's Working Her Way Through College (1952), Mayo plays theater-turned-film star Catherine Terris who slinks back to Broadway after her movie career goes belly up. Problem is, the part offered is in a play directed by theater impresario Gordon Evans (Gene Nelson), the man she escaped many years ago. Ironically, Mayo had also come to Hollywood via Broadway, but was let go from Goldwyn after spurning Howard Hawks. (Undeterred, she moved on to Warner Brothers.) Directed under duress by former "Our Gang" gagwriter and director Gordon Douglas (who privately admitted to interviewers years later that "the script wasn't good" and Mayo only did the picture to avoid a suspension), Mayo still captures the eye in dance numbers that highlight her animal appeal. Even though she was only five foot five, her dancer's legs in action stretch out for miles. By Violet LeVoit

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005)


Virginia Mayo, the delectable, "peaches and cream" leading lady of the 40s, who on occasion, could prove herself quite capable in dramatic parts, died on January 17 at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 84.

She was born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri on November 30, 1920, and got her show business start at the age of six by enrolling in her aunt's School of Dramatic Expression. While still in her teens, she joined the nightclub circuit, and after paying her dues for a few years traveling across the country, she eventually caught the eye of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He gave her a small role in her first film, starring future husband, Michael O'Shea, in Jack London (1943). She then received minor billing as a "Goldwyn Girl," in the Danny Kaye farce, Up In Arms (1944). Almost immediately, Goldwyn saw her natural movement, comfort and ease in front of the camera, and in just her fourth film, she landed a plumb lead opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944). She proved a hit with moviegoers, and her next two films would be with her most frequent leading man, Danny Kaye: Wonder Man (1945), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Both films were big hits, and the chemistry between Mayo and Kaye - the classy, reserved blonde beauty clashing with the hyperactive clown - was surprisingly successful.

Mayo did make a brief break from light comedy, and gave a good performance as Dana Andrews' unfaithful wife, Marie, in the popular post-war drama, The Best Years of Their Lives (1946); but despite the good reviews, she was back with Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and A Song Is Born (1948).

It wasn't until the following year that Mayo got the chance to sink her teeth into a meaty role. That film, White Heat (1949), and her role, as Cody Jarrett's (James Cagney) sluttish, conniving wife, Verna, is memorable for the sheer ruthlessness of her performance. Remember, it was Verna who shot Cody¿s mother in the back, and yet when Cody confronts her after he escapes from prison to exact revenge for her death, Verna effectively places the blame on Big Ed (Steve Cochran):

Verna: I can't tell you Cody!
Cody: Tell me!
Verna: Ed...he shot her in the back!!!

Critics and fans purred over the newfound versatility, yet strangely, she never found a part as juicy as Verna again. Her next film, with Cagney, The West Point Story (1950), was a pleasant enough musical; but her role as Lady Wellesley in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), co-starring Gregory Peck, was merely decorative; that of a burlesque queen attempting to earn a university degree in the gormless comedy, She¿s Working Her Way Through College (1952); and worst of all, the Biblical bomb, The Silver Chalice (1954) which was, incidentally, Paul Newman's film debut, and is a film he still derides as the worst of his career.

Realizing that her future in movies was slowing down, she turned to the supper club circuit in the 60s with her husband, Michael O'Shea, touring the country in such productions as No, No Nanette, Barefoot in the Park, Hello Dolly, and Butterflies Are Free. Like most performers who had outdistanced their glory days with the film industry, Mayo turned to television for the next two decades, appearing in such shows as Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder She Wrote, and Remington Steele. She even earned a recurring role in the short-lived NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1984-85), playing an aging hoofer named "Peaches DeLight." Mayo was married to O'Shea from 1947 until his death in 1973. She is survived by their daughter, Mary Johnston; and three grandsons.

by Michael T. Toole

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005)

Virginia Mayo, the delectable, "peaches and cream" leading lady of the 40s, who on occasion, could prove herself quite capable in dramatic parts, died on January 17 at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 84. She was born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri on November 30, 1920, and got her show business start at the age of six by enrolling in her aunt's School of Dramatic Expression. While still in her teens, she joined the nightclub circuit, and after paying her dues for a few years traveling across the country, she eventually caught the eye of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He gave her a small role in her first film, starring future husband, Michael O'Shea, in Jack London (1943). She then received minor billing as a "Goldwyn Girl," in the Danny Kaye farce, Up In Arms (1944). Almost immediately, Goldwyn saw her natural movement, comfort and ease in front of the camera, and in just her fourth film, she landed a plumb lead opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944). She proved a hit with moviegoers, and her next two films would be with her most frequent leading man, Danny Kaye: Wonder Man (1945), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Both films were big hits, and the chemistry between Mayo and Kaye - the classy, reserved blonde beauty clashing with the hyperactive clown - was surprisingly successful. Mayo did make a brief break from light comedy, and gave a good performance as Dana Andrews' unfaithful wife, Marie, in the popular post-war drama, The Best Years of Their Lives (1946); but despite the good reviews, she was back with Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and A Song Is Born (1948). It wasn't until the following year that Mayo got the chance to sink her teeth into a meaty role. That film, White Heat (1949), and her role, as Cody Jarrett's (James Cagney) sluttish, conniving wife, Verna, is memorable for the sheer ruthlessness of her performance. Remember, it was Verna who shot Cody¿s mother in the back, and yet when Cody confronts her after he escapes from prison to exact revenge for her death, Verna effectively places the blame on Big Ed (Steve Cochran): Verna: I can't tell you Cody! Cody: Tell me! Verna: Ed...he shot her in the back!!! Critics and fans purred over the newfound versatility, yet strangely, she never found a part as juicy as Verna again. Her next film, with Cagney, The West Point Story (1950), was a pleasant enough musical; but her role as Lady Wellesley in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), co-starring Gregory Peck, was merely decorative; that of a burlesque queen attempting to earn a university degree in the gormless comedy, She¿s Working Her Way Through College (1952); and worst of all, the Biblical bomb, The Silver Chalice (1954) which was, incidentally, Paul Newman's film debut, and is a film he still derides as the worst of his career. Realizing that her future in movies was slowing down, she turned to the supper club circuit in the 60s with her husband, Michael O'Shea, touring the country in such productions as No, No Nanette, Barefoot in the Park, Hello Dolly, and Butterflies Are Free. Like most performers who had outdistanced their glory days with the film industry, Mayo turned to television for the next two decades, appearing in such shows as Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder She Wrote, and Remington Steele. She even earned a recurring role in the short-lived NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1984-85), playing an aging hoofer named "Peaches DeLight." Mayo was married to O'Shea from 1947 until his death in 1973. She is survived by their daughter, Mary Johnston; and three grandsons. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Back to Broadway. Although August 1952 Hollywood Reporter news items add Ed Hinton and Michael Baiano to the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. The CBCS lists John Monks as one of the screen writers for the film, but he is not credited onscreen. According to an August 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, exterior shots were filmed at a Beverly Hills private residence.