Cast & Crew
Joe E. Ross
Fast-talking conman Marty Holland is broke and desperately attempting to rig the Miss World Wide beauty contest in his hometown of New York City. Marty's pal, Max Crane, has contacted the head judge, Schultz, but is worried that he is too honest to take a bribe and allow Marty's entry to win. Lacking both the $250 entry fee and a woman to enter, Marty is still hoping to pull off the job, which will net him a profit of $3,500 if his contestant wins. Marty wants to enter his former girl friend, Rita Hall, who is now the paramour of gangster Irving the Hammer. Max is nervous about getting involved with Irving, but Marty assures him that the gangster has approved of the scheme and given Rita the entry fee. After Marty sends Max to pawn his ring so that they can pay their rent, the glamorous Rita arrives and sighs that she would have stayed with Marty if he had the "green" to go with his talent. In order to assure Rita's participation in the contest, Marty tells her that the winner will receive a screen test in Hollywood, where they can be together. Rita gives Marty the entry fee plus another $250 to tide him over, but after she leaves, fellow con man Charlie Cooper, who loves to bet on horses, wheedles the money out of Marty by telling him that he has a "sure thing" in an upcoming race. When Max returns, he is beside himself to learn that Marty gave the money to Charlie, and after they learn that Charlie's horse lost, moans that Irving is going to kill them. Marty decides to tap Rita for more money and so the pals go to the penthouse she shares with Irving. When Marty tells Rita that he was too late to enter her in the contest and needs another $250 to bribe the judge, Rita explodes, calling Marty a "two-bit, four-flushing hustler." Back at their hotel, Marty and Max again stall manager Mr. Ross, who is trying to collect their back rent, then Marty rejects Max's suggestion that they rejoin the army to support themselves. As they are despairing, Charlie bursts in with news that he did not arrive in time to place the bet and returns Marty's money. Marty does not have long to rejoice, however, as just after Charlie leaves, Hermie, one of Irving's thugs, arrives and informs him that Irving no longer wants Rita to be in the contest and is demanding that he return the entry fee. Marty returns the $250, but keeps the other $250. During their discussion, Hermie tells Marty that Charlie bet on his horse and won $3,000, which he withheld from Marty. Marty admires Charlie's cleverness in tricking him, then determines to find another girl for the contest. Schultz then arrives to collect the entry fee and hints that other backers have offered all three judges larger bribes. Marty reluctantly ups his bribe, which Schultz accepts, although he insists on having Marty sign an IOU for $3,000 payable upon winning the contest. Later, Marty goes through his "little black book" in a vain attempt to find an entrant, then gives Ross a bad check to cover the rent. Just as Marty is about to comb the streets for a suitable woman, Ruth Collins, a very attractive process server, arrives with an attachment for Marty's car. Marty quickly works on Ruth, telling her that he will pay her $500 for entering the contest and promising that she will win the Hollywood trip and other prizes. Although Ruth is skeptical, she desperately needs the money to pay for her brother's tuition and agrees to enter the contest, which she does not know has been rigged by Marty. Later that evening, Marty takes Ruth to dinner at Sardi's to "publicize" her, and she is amazed by his apparent high-living lifestyle. Ruth, who came to New York from a small town in an attempt to make it on her own, has struggled with various jobs but refuses to admit defeat and go home. Their dinner is interrupted by various people offering Marty deals, and Ruth becomes confused by his breezy relationship with the truth, stating that she finds him to be a nice person and that nice people do not lie. Marty is taken aback, as no one has ever had such faith in him before. When Marty goes home, he and Max are visited by Hermie, who announces that Irving has changed his mind and wants Rita to win the contest. Marty, buoyed by Ruth's belief in him, demurs, stating that he has another entrant. Max is baffled by Marty's change of heart, and Marty explains that there comes a time when a "guy has to have a little self-respect." Max persuades him, however, that Irving is too big to fight, and Marty agrees that he should not get beaten up for "a dame" whom he just met. As they are talking, Ross enters and reveals that he knows the check that Marty gave him is worthless. Ross is won over by Marty's sincere apology, however, and Marty, amazed that Ruth's advice always to tell the truth actually worked, is determined to go straight and help Ruth win the contest legitimately. Marty informs Hermie of his decision and Hermie retorts that Irving has entered Rita and intimidated Schultz and the other judges into voting for her. Hoping to appeal to Schultz, Marty goes to the auditorium where the contest is to be held, and while standing on the stage, gets an idea from the extremely hot lights needed to illuminate the stage for the contest to broadcast on color television. The next day, Marty attempts to coach Ruth in singing, but her terrible voice discourages them both. Just then, a dress made out of a special material, constructed to Marty's specifications, arrives, and Marty tells Ruth not to worry. At the studio, the other contestants wear bathing suits and demonstrate their talents. When it is Ruth's turn, she complains to Marty about the overly warm evening gown, but Marty sends her on stage anyway. As Ruth sings, the material of her dress melts under the bright lights, and she is left wearing little more than a slip. Marty and Max are arrested on obscenity charges, but upon their release, are bombarded with offers by agents wanting to represent the curvaceous Ruth. At Ruth's apartment, Marty attempts to share the good news with her, but she responds that he humiliated her. Marty admits that all he wanted was for her to win, regardless of the means, and confesses that for the first time in his life, he has fallen in love. Ruth is surprised, as they have known each other for only forty-eight hours, but when Marty tears up her entry form, which had a clause making him her personal manager, she realizes that he is sincere. Ruth allows Marty to kiss her after he promises to work for a living from now on, and they are then joined by Max, who again speculates that they should return to the army.
Joe E. Ross
Alfred Joseph Page
John P. Fulton
Joseph Macmillan Johnson
Don McGuire's onscreen credit reads: "Written, Produced and Directed by Don McGuire." The fim begins with an offscreen, voice-over narration describing New York City and its confidence men, who will "work harder than any living individual to avoid work." The character of "Irving the Hammer" is only talked about in the picture and is never actually seen.
As described in a September 1957 American Cinematographer article and the studio pressbook, the picture was shot in straight narrative continuity, an uncommon practice. Two weeks of intensive rehearsals began on June 24, 1957, according to the American Cinematographer article, which noted that, in addition to the actors, the crews operating the two cameras used during filming participated in the rehearsals. The movements of the actors were carefully blocked out so that the two cameras would not cross each other enabling the actors to be lit to their best advantage and not go out of focus. The pressbook also noted that McGuire taped the rehearsals in order to study them and refine the scenes. Although a July 16, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item placed Joe Quinn in the cast, his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed.
As noted by studio publicity for the film, Hear Me Good marked Hal March's first starring role, although he had appeared in several earlier films. March, the popular host of the television quiz show The $64,000 Question, did not make another film until the 1964 Universal release Send Me No Flowers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). A May 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item and studio publicity for Hear Me Good incorrectly stated that the picture marked comedian Joe E. Ross's film debut, even though he had made three earlier films. His role as "Max Crane" was his largest to date, however.