Are You with It?


1h 33m 1948

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1948
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 14 Apr 1948
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical comedy Are You With It? book by Sam Perrin and George Balzer, music by Harry Revel (New York City, 1945) and the novel Slightly Perfect by George Malcolm-Smith (New York, 1941).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

At the Nutmeg Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut, Havard-educated actuary Milton Haskins is awarded a quick promotion for his unerring rate tables. His secretary, Vivian Reilly, thrills to the news, since the promotion will speed up Milton's life plan and allow them to marry earlier. Soon after, however, boss Mr. Bixby and company president Mr. Mapleton point out that Milton has made his first mistake, which cost the company thousands of dollars, and he decides he must quit. While walking dejectedly in the park that day, he meets carnival pitchman John "Goldie" McGoldrick, who quickly realizes that Milton's genius at predicting mathematical progressions can serve them well with carnival chance games. Goldie gets Milton drunk and brings him to the carnival, where he finagles a job for Milton from owner Jason "Pop" Carter, who is struggling to keep an investor, Mrs. Minerva Henkle, from buying the failing carnival out from under him. Goldie puts Milton to work as a fake customer on the Wheel of Fortune game of chance, but Milton cleans out the game by successfully predicting the outcome of every spin of the wheel. Goldie then urges him to work in the carnival follies, where Milton blooms as a dancer and singer. Soon, Vivian arrives and jealously watches Milton dancing with beautiful women. After the show, someone tries to break into Milton's suitcase and throws a knife at him, but he insists to a fellow perfomer that he has never felt so alive. Later that day, the carnival's accountant, Herman Bogel, who suspects Milton might be a spy from the insurance company, urges dancer Sally to seduce information out of Milton. When Vivian stands at Milton's door and hears them together, she mistakenly assumes they are having an affair, and lets Goldie's girl friend, dancer Bunny LaFleur, talk her into joining the carnival show to make Milton jealous. In the middle of the show, Milton attempts to drag her offstage, resulting in an audience mêlée which lands all the carnies in jail. Though Bixby bails out Milton and Vivian and coaxes them back to work, they refuse to leave until he promises to release their friends, in exchange for Milton's salary for the next two years. Milton returns to the office, but leaves immediately when Vivian finds an insurance file on Mrs. Henkle which incriminates her and Bogel. Though Pop has just sold the carnival to Mrs. Henkle, Milton, Vivian, Bunny and Goldie run to the arena and entertain the crowd to keep the carnival alive until Bogel, Henkle, Bixby and Mr. Mapleton can be gathered together. Milton then reveals that, years before, Mrs. Henkle collected on an insurance policy on her dead husband, and if Bogel has a tattoo of a heart on his chest, it will prove he is her husband and they have committed fraud. Though at first Bogel displays a tattoo of a boat, Vivian's accusation that she is having Bogel's baby makes Mrs. Henkle attack Bogel until he pulls off the fake tattoo and reveals the real one underneath. After they are arrested, and Pop regains control of the carnival, Milton and Vivian agree to do Nutmeg's accounting as long as they can continue to work at the carnival with their friends.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1948
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 14 Apr 1948
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical comedy Are You With It? book by Sam Perrin and George Balzer, music by Harry Revel (New York City, 1945) and the novel Slightly Perfect by George Malcolm-Smith (New York, 1941).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Donald O'Connor, 1925-2003


Donald O'Connor, the sprightly, acrobatic dancer-comedian who was unforgettable in his exhilarating "Make 'em Laugh" number in the classic musical Singin' in the Rain, died of heart failure at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California on September 27. He was 78.

Born Donald David Dixon O' Connor in Chicago on August 28, 1925, he was raised in an atmosphere of show business. His parents were circus trapeze artists and later vaudeville entertainers, and as soon as young Donald was old enough to walk, he was performing in a variety of dance and stunt routines all across the country. Discovered by a film scout at age 11, he made his film debut with two of his brothers in Melody for Two (1937), and was singled out for a contract by Paramount Pictures. He co-starred with Bing Crosby and Fred MacMurray in Sing, You Sinners (1938) and played juvenile roles in several films, including Huckleberry Finn in Tom Sawyer - Detective (1938) and the title character as a child in Beau Geste (1939).

As O'Connor grew into adolescence, he fared pretty well as a youthful hoofer, dancing up a storm in a string of low-budget, but engaging musicals for Universal Studios (often teamed with the equally vigorous Peggy Ryan) during World War II. Titles like What's Cookin', Get Hep to Love (both 1942), Chip Off the Old Block and Strictly in the Groove (both 1943) made for some fairly innocuous entertainment, but they went a long way in displaying O'Connor's athletic dancing and boyish charm. As an adult, O'Connor struck paydirt again when he starred opposite a talking mule (with a voice supplied by Chill Wills) in the enormously popular Francis (1949). The story about an Army private who discovers that only he can communicate with a talking army mule, proved to be a very profitable hit with kids, and Universal went on to star him in several sequels.

Yet if O'Connor had to stake his claim to cinematic greatness, it would unquestionably be his daringly acrobatic, brazenly funny turn as Cosmo Brown, Gene Kelly's sidekick in the brilliant Singin' in the Rain (1952). Although his self-choreographed routine of "Make "Em Laugh" (which includes a mind-bending series of backflips off the walls) is often singled out as the highlight, in truth, his whole performance is one of the highlights of the film. His deft comic delivery of one-liners, crazy facial expressions (just watch him lampoon the diction teacher in the glorious "Moses Supposes" bit) and exhilarating dance moves (the opening "Fit As a Fiddle" number with Kelly to name just one) throughout the film are just sheer film treats in any critic's book.

After the success of Singin' in the Rain, O'Connor proved that he had enough charisma to command his first starring vehicle, opposite Debbie Reynolds, in the cute musical I Love Melvin (1953). He also found good parts in Call Me Madam (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), and Anything Goes (1956). Unfortunately, his one attempt at a strong dramatic role, the lead in the weak biopic The Buster Keaton Story (1957) proved to be misstep, and he was panned by the critics.

By the '60s, the popularity of musicals had faded, and O'Connor spent the next several years supporting himself with many dinner theater and nightclub appearances; but just when it looked like we wouldn't see O'Connor's talent shine again on the small or big screen, he found himself in demand at the dawn of the '90s in a string of TV appearances: Murder She Wrote, Tales From the Crypt, Fraser, The Nanny; and movies: Robin Williams' toy-manufacturer father in Toys (1992), a fellow passenger in the Lemmon-Matthau comedy, Out to Sea (1997), that were as welcoming as they were heartening. Survivors include his wife, Gloria; four children, Alicia, Donna, Fred and Kevin; and four grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Donald O'connor, 1925-2003

Donald O'Connor, 1925-2003

Donald O'Connor, the sprightly, acrobatic dancer-comedian who was unforgettable in his exhilarating "Make 'em Laugh" number in the classic musical Singin' in the Rain, died of heart failure at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California on September 27. He was 78. Born Donald David Dixon O' Connor in Chicago on August 28, 1925, he was raised in an atmosphere of show business. His parents were circus trapeze artists and later vaudeville entertainers, and as soon as young Donald was old enough to walk, he was performing in a variety of dance and stunt routines all across the country. Discovered by a film scout at age 11, he made his film debut with two of his brothers in Melody for Two (1937), and was singled out for a contract by Paramount Pictures. He co-starred with Bing Crosby and Fred MacMurray in Sing, You Sinners (1938) and played juvenile roles in several films, including Huckleberry Finn in Tom Sawyer - Detective (1938) and the title character as a child in Beau Geste (1939). As O'Connor grew into adolescence, he fared pretty well as a youthful hoofer, dancing up a storm in a string of low-budget, but engaging musicals for Universal Studios (often teamed with the equally vigorous Peggy Ryan) during World War II. Titles like What's Cookin', Get Hep to Love (both 1942), Chip Off the Old Block and Strictly in the Groove (both 1943) made for some fairly innocuous entertainment, but they went a long way in displaying O'Connor's athletic dancing and boyish charm. As an adult, O'Connor struck paydirt again when he starred opposite a talking mule (with a voice supplied by Chill Wills) in the enormously popular Francis (1949). The story about an Army private who discovers that only he can communicate with a talking army mule, proved to be a very profitable hit with kids, and Universal went on to star him in several sequels. Yet if O'Connor had to stake his claim to cinematic greatness, it would unquestionably be his daringly acrobatic, brazenly funny turn as Cosmo Brown, Gene Kelly's sidekick in the brilliant Singin' in the Rain (1952). Although his self-choreographed routine of "Make "Em Laugh" (which includes a mind-bending series of backflips off the walls) is often singled out as the highlight, in truth, his whole performance is one of the highlights of the film. His deft comic delivery of one-liners, crazy facial expressions (just watch him lampoon the diction teacher in the glorious "Moses Supposes" bit) and exhilarating dance moves (the opening "Fit As a Fiddle" number with Kelly to name just one) throughout the film are just sheer film treats in any critic's book. After the success of Singin' in the Rain, O'Connor proved that he had enough charisma to command his first starring vehicle, opposite Debbie Reynolds, in the cute musical I Love Melvin (1953). He also found good parts in Call Me Madam (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), and Anything Goes (1956). Unfortunately, his one attempt at a strong dramatic role, the lead in the weak biopic The Buster Keaton Story (1957) proved to be misstep, and he was panned by the critics. By the '60s, the popularity of musicals had faded, and O'Connor spent the next several years supporting himself with many dinner theater and nightclub appearances; but just when it looked like we wouldn't see O'Connor's talent shine again on the small or big screen, he found himself in demand at the dawn of the '90s in a string of TV appearances: Murder She Wrote, Tales From the Crypt, Fraser, The Nanny; and movies: Robin Williams' toy-manufacturer father in Toys (1992), a fellow passenger in the Lemmon-Matthau comedy, Out to Sea (1997), that were as welcoming as they were heartening. Survivors include his wife, Gloria; four children, Alicia, Donna, Fred and Kevin; and four grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Lew Parker reprised the role of "Goldie", which he played in the Broadway production, for this film. Universal borrowed Olga San Juan from Paramount for her role. Although an October 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item states that Peter Lind Hayes was to be a co-star, he did not appear in the final film.