Dixie


1h 29m 1943

Brief Synopsis

A young songwriter leaves his Kentucky home to try to make it in New Orleans. Eventually he winds up in New York, where he sells his songs to a music publisher, but refuses to sell his most treasured composition: "Dixie." The film is based on the life of Daniel Decatur Emmett, who wrote the classic song "Dixie."

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1943
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Jun 1943
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,065ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In the mid-1800s in Ohio, Daniel Decatur Emmett, who works at a feed store but yearns to be a performer, is romancing his fiancée, Jean Mason, when they hear the fire alarm ringing. They discover that Jean's house has burned down because of Dan's careless placement of his corncob pipe. Jean's father refuses to allow Dan to marry Jean unless he earns $1,000 within the next six months. To this end, Dan takes a ferry headed for New Orleans, and during the ride he meets Mr. Bones, an accordion-playing opportunist. Bones cheats Dan of his $500 inheritance in a rigged card game and then disappears. Not to be outsmarted, Dan places an advertisement in a New Orleans newspaper for an accordion player, and when Bones responds to the ad, Dan attempts to force him into returning his money. The money has already been spent, however, so Bones promises to make Dan a partner in his next show. Bones takes Dan to a boardinghouse run by Mr. Cook, who is sympathetic to actors, and his daughter Millie, who resents her father's leniency. Cook gets Bones a paying audition at the Maxwell Theatre, and Millie insists that Bones's friends and fellow boarders, Dan, Whitlock and Pelham, perform with him so that they can all pay their rent. Unfortunately, both Dan and Bones got black eyes during an altercation at a restaurant where they were unable to pay their bill. Millie suggests that they paint their faces to cover up their black eyes and go as black men. The audition is a rousing success, and Millie and Dan fall in love. Two weeks later, Bones sells the Maxwell Theatre his idea for a new show featuring twenty-four performers. Dan writes all the music for the minstrel show, but his conscience troubles him because of his engagement to Jean, and he snubs Millie. Bones takes advantage of Millie's situation and proposes to her, and she accepts. On opening night, the theater burns down because Dan is again careless with his pipe, and they thereby lose their jobs. Dan recognizes that Millie is his true love and reunites with her, but as he is out of work, he decides to return home and break off his engagement with Jean. When he discovers that Jean has been permanently paralyzed by a debilitating illness, however, he writes to Millie, breaking off their engagement, and marries Jean. The newlyweds move to New York with the hope that Dan can sell his music there. One day, Mr. Cook visits their apartment and tells Jean about Dan's previous engagement to Millie. When Dan returns that day having sold ten of his songs for only $100, Jean insists that they move to New Orleans so that he can rejoin his friends in a show there. Millie is furious that her father has brought Dan back to the boardinghouse until she sees that Jean is disabled, and gains new respect for him. When Dan and Bones learn that Devereaux, the owner of the opera house where they want to book their show, likes to gamble, they arrange a game with him. Bones wins the card game, and they intimidate Devereaux, a snob who does not think their show is worthy of his establishment, into giving them a booking. Devereaux later insists that he will cancel the show if the opening night is not successful. Jean meanwhile watches Dan and Millie carefully, and, heartbroken when she detects intimacy between them, decides to leave Dan. On opening night, Jean sends a letter to Dan backstage, which she hopes he will find after the show, informing him that she is leaving him so that he and Millie can be together. Millie notices Jean crying during one of Dan's love songs, and discovers Jean's note backstage. Millie burns the note and tells Jean that she has just become engaged to Bones. Unknown to Millie, the burning letter was not completely extinguished and has started a fire backstage. As Dan performs his slow ballad, "Dixie," he sees stageworkers offstage trying to extinguish the fire. Dan starts singing faster and faster and draws the entire chorus into the song. The audience, previously unaffected by the show, becomes roused by the moving tribute to the South, and sings along. The fire is extinguished, the show is a huge success, and Jean and Dan remain happily married.

Cast

Bing Crosby

Daniel Decatur Emmett

Dorothy Lamour

Millie Cook

Marjorie Reynolds

Jean Mason

Billy De Wolfe

Mr. Bones

Lynne Overman

Mr. Whitlock

Raymond Walburn

Mr. Cook

Eddie Foy Jr.

Mr. Pelham

Grant Mitchell

Mr. Mason

Clara Blandick

Mrs. Mason

Tom Herbert

Homer

Olin Howlin

Mr. Devereaux

Robert Warwick

Mr. La Plant

Stanley Andrews

Mr. Masters

Norma Varden

Mrs. La Plant

Hope Landin

Mrs. Masters

James Burke

River boat captain

George H. Reed

Lucius

Jimmy Conlin

Publisher

George Anderson

Publisher

Harry C. Bradley

Publisher

William Halligan

Publisher

Wilbur Mack

Assistant. in publisher's office

Henry Roquemore

Man in audience

Brandon Hurst

Dignified man in audience

Sam Flint

Southern colonel

Dell Henderson

Stage manager

Harry Barris

Drummer

Isabel Randolph

Woman in Maxwell Theatre

Joe Cunningham

Man in Maxwell Theatre

Fortunio Bonanova

Waiter in restaurant

Brandon Hurst

Man in restaurant

Josephine Whittell

Woman in restaurant

Willie Best

Steward

Paul Mcvey

Headwaiter, 1st restaurant

Charles La Torre

Captain of waiters

Charles R. Moore

News vendor

Tom Kennedy

Barkeeper

Charles Cane

Fireman

Edward Emerson

Fireman

Cyril Ring

Fireman

Dudley Dickerson

Black boiler room attendant

Harry Tyler

Blind man

Carl Switzer

Boy

John "skins" Miller

Specialty member of minstrel show

Donald Kerr

Specialty member of minstrel show

Fred Santley

Specialty member of minstrel show

Warren Jackson

Specialty member of minstrel show

Jimmy Ray

Specialty member of minstrel show

Hal Rand

Specialty member of minstrel show

Charles Mayon

Specialty member of minstrel show

Allen Ray

Specialty member of minstrel show

Jerry James

Specialty member of minstrel show

James Clemons

Specialty member of minstrel show

Ethel Clayton

Crew

Lewis Allen

Dialogue Director

Max Asher

2d unit makeup

Irmgard Batchler

2d unit women's Wardrobe

Claude Binyon

Adaptation

James Bland

Composer

Johnny Burke

Composer

Henry Thacker Burleigh

Composer

Frank Campbell

Composer

Harry Caplan

2d Assistant Director

William Collins

2d unit grip

John Cope

Sound Recording

Frances Dawson

Dial coach

Barney Dean

Contract Writer

B. G. Desylva

Executive Producer

George Dobbs

Dance coach and Assistant to Seymour Felix

Robert Emmett Dolan

Music Director

Hans Dreier

Art Supervisor

Raoul Pène Dubois

Costumes

Raoul Pène Dubois

Settings

Grace Dubray

Screenplay clerk

Frank Dugas

2d unit Assistant Camera

Farciot Edouart

Process Photography

Daniel Decatur Emmett

Composer

Seymour Felix

Dances staged by

William Flannery

Art Director

Jack Frances

2d unit grip

Arthur Franklin

Music Assistant

Ed Frazier

Dance rehearsal pianist

Alvin Ganzer

Assistant Director

Robert Goodstein

Assistant to Seymour Felix

Loyal Griggs

2d unit Camera

Earl Hayman

Sound Recording

W. M. Hays

Composer

Gordon Jennings

Special Effects

Paul Jones

Associate Producer

Natalie Kalmus

Technicolor Color Consultant

Henry Kessler

2d unit Assistant Director

N. Lacey

Loc Manager

Sam Ledner

Dance coach to Bing Crosby

Joseph J. Lilley

Vocal Arrangements

Al Mann

Assistant Dance Director

Ed Manriquez

2d unit grip

Maudlee Mcdougall

2d unit hair

William C. Mellor

Director of Photography

Ray Moyer

Set Decoration

H. Murray

2d unit grip

Morgan Padelford

Associate (Color)

Arthur Phillips

Contract Writer

William Rankin

Story

Billy Reeves

Composer

Leonora Sabine

Hair Supervisor

Harold Schwartz

Unit Manager

William Shea

Editing

Leo Sherin

Contr wrt for "Blind man gag"

Fred Starnes

2d unit men's Wardrobe

Karl Tunberg

Screenwriter

James Van Heusen

Composer

Darrell Ware

Screenwriter

Paul Way

2d unit grip

Wally Westmore

Makeup Artist

William Cool White

Composer

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1943
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Jun 1943
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,065ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Southerner Daniel Decatur Emmett, who was born in Ohio in 1815, was best known as the composer of the song "Dixie." Modern historians indicate that Emmett was an abolitionist, although the song became an unofficial anthem for the Confederacy during the Civil War. As depicted in the film, Emmett was one of the originators of blackface entertainment in the theatre. In New York in 1843, Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Frank Pelham and Frank Brower performed in blackface, billing themselves as the Virginia Minstrels. This is the first known performance in which blackface performers were called minstrels, although blackface performances were common in circuses. Although dancer Louis Da Pron is listed in the CBCS as a "Minstrel dancer," a memo contained in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library states that Da Pron "is no longer in the picture and his name should be removed from the cast sheet thereof." An early Hollywood Reporter news items reported that Paramount considered adding Fred Astaire to the cast. This marks Billy De Wolfe's feature film debut.