I'll Get By


1h 23m 1950

Brief Synopsis

Updated version of "Tin Pan Alley" concerns two songwriters and their romantic entanglements with the pretty pair of sisters helping them plug their songs.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1950
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Oct 1950
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,190ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In December 1939, William Spencer, a song plugger for Leo Feist Inc. in New York, rushes one of the company's new records to disc jockey Peter Pepper. While en route, he crashes into a door being opened by a young woman, Liza Martin, and later discovers that the record is broken. After Bill gives Peter one of his own recorded songs to play, Peter takes it off the air in mid-broadcast, and Bill is fired. Bill is not unhappy, however, as he intends to open his own music publishing business. He rents a small office and hires a Miss Murphy as secretary, but the business does not prosper. When Texan Freddy Lee brings him a song and asks how much it would cost him to have it published, Bill makes him a partner. However, the song does not sell well, and they soon find themselves behind on the rent. Having grown up with singer Terry Martin, Freddy suggests they sell some songs to her and her sister Liza, who are appearing with Harry James at the Chi Chi Club. Chester Dooley, a pianist at a small club in Greenwich Village, then brings them a song he wants to have published, and Bill acquires another partner. When Bill and Freddy go to the Chi Chi Club and meet Terry and Liza, Bill recognizes Liza as the girl he bumped into at the radio station, while Terry remembers Freddy as a creep. However, Bill and Freddy manage to persuade the girls to try their music. After the show, they all go for coffee at "The Joint," where Dooley is playing. Liza and Terry try his song, "I'll Get By," and eventually they record it and it becomes a big hit. As the company expands and publishes several hits, Liza pursues Bill while Terry tolerates Freddy. Liza and Terry get a new contract with a Hollywood record company, so Bill and Freddy decide to open a western office. In 1941, the Martin sisters are invited to perform at a gala benefit concert for the Free French, and Bill arranges for them to perform a new song with music by George Gershwin. Bill is in his suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel when Jeanne Crain phones to say that she has heard about the Gershwin song and would like to do it at the benefit. As Bill has already promised the song to Liza, he tells Jeanne that it's not her type of song. Unknown to Bill, Freddy, thinking Bill had set it up, unwittingly agrees to let Jeanne do the song. When Liza finds out, she walks out on Bill. Another disaster occurs when ASCAP, the society representing composers and publishers, bans broadcast music, forcing stations to play only public domain material. Next, Bill and Freddy are drafted into the Marines. At their base in San Diego, they meet Miss Murphy, who is now an officer and she tells them that Liza and Terry have been signed by Twentieth Century-Fox and are currently shooting a movie. After Miss Murphy arranges leave for Bill and Freddy, they try to get into the studio. Actor Reginald Gardiner recognizes their names and advises Terry that they are at the gate, but Terry tells him that Liza will not see Bill. Miss Murphy goes to see Liza and after reminding her of Bill's good qualities, tells her that he never gave the song to Jeanne Crain. The next day, Reggie drives Liza to the San Diego Marine Base to see Bill, but they have already shipped out to the South Pacific. Liza and Terry sign up for U.S.O. tours and eventually wind up at a base in the South Pacific, where Freddy welcomes them. Terry rediscovers Freddy and agrees to marry him but refuses to live on a farm in Texas. However, she quickly changes her mind when she learns that Freddy owns the largest mink farm in Texas. Later during their show for the troops, the girls bring up Private Dan Dailey from the audience to join in a number. As it ends, a Marine general receives a message, which he then reads to the troops--Germany has surrendered. Bill returns from patrol, and he and Liza embrace.

Crew

Fred E. Ahlert

Composer

Lloyd Allen

Assistant Director

Harold Arlen

Composer

Guy Bonham

Composer

Bill Buell

Makeup Artist

Robert Burns

Composer

Irving Caesar

Composer

Sammy Cahn

Composer

Wamp Carlson

Composer

Gertrude Casey

Wardrobe

Larry Ceballos

Dances staged by

Charles G. Clarke

Director of Photography

Tom Connors

Assistant Director

Esperanza Corona

Hairstylist

Vince Degen

Vocal Director

Glenn Delfino

Props

B. G. Desylva

Composer

Leonard Doss

Technicolor color consultant

Doris Drought

Script Supervisor

Vernon Duke

Composer

Michael Edwards

Composer

Robert Ellis

Screenplay story

Ted Fetter

Composer

Myrtle Ford

Hairstylist

Stephen C. Foster

Composer

W. Fritchman

Grip

George Gershwin

Composer

Mack Gordon

Composer

Bud Green

Composer

Earle Hagen

Orchestration

Charles Hall

Production Manager

Pamela Harris

Screenplay story

June Hershey

Composer

R. L. Hough

Assistant prod Manager

Richard Irvine

Art Director

Arthur Jacobson

Assistant Director

Ted Koehler

Composer

Lou Kunkel

Camera Operator

Kenneth Lang

Gaffer

Red Latham

Composer

John Latouche

Composer

Charles Lemaire

Wardrobe Director

Harry M. Leonard

Sound

George Leverett

Sound

Thomas Little

Set Decoration

Helen Logan

Screenplay story

Mary Loos

Screenwriter

Norman Martien

Wardrobe

Jack Matthias

Orchestra Arrangement

James V. Monaco

Composer

Josef Myrow

Composer

Lionel Newman

Music Director

Red Norvo

Orchestra Arrangement

Ben Nye

Makeup Artist

Shamus O'connor

Composer

William Perlberg

Producer

Stuart Reiss

Set Decoration

Leo Robin

Composer

Richard Sale

Screenwriter

Emmett Schoenbaum

Stills

Fred Sersen

Special Photography Effects

Herbert Spencer

Orchestration

John J. Stamford

Composer

Jule Styne

Composer

Don Swander

Composer

Travilla

Costume Design

Roy Turk

Composer

Tom Tuttle

Makeup Artist

Harry Warren

Composer

J. Watson Webb Jr.

Film Editor

Lyle Wheeler

Art Director

Joseph C. Wright

Musical settings

Darryl F. Zanuck

Executive Producer

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1950
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Oct 1950
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,190ft (9 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Score

1950

Quotes

Trivia

The set used for the Martin sisters' apartment is the identical set used that same year by Fox for Margo Channing's apartment in All About Eve (1950).

Notes

The following information was culled from the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, and from material in the AMPAS Library: Early drafts of I'll Get By were written by Harry Tugend, but the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. Some musical numbers and other sequences were shot and subsequently discarded. Although Harry Antrim was billed onscreen, the sequence in which he portrayed a banker was deleted from the final cut. Victor Mature replaced Clifton Webb in a cameo appearance.
       Music from a number of songs written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, including "I Know Why," "The More I See You," "I Wish I Knew," "I Had the Craziest Dream," "People Like You and Me" and "You'll Never Know," were used in the background score. Famed vibrophonist Red Norvo contributed an arrangement of "I'll Get By" to the picture and, according to modern sources, recorded it for the soundtrack with Tal Farlow on guitar and Red Kelly on bass. However, none of these musicians perform the number onscreen. Jack Matthias wrote the musical arrangements for the Harry James numbers.
       During a sequence set at the Roxy Theater in New York, music from Alfred Newman's score for the 1940 Twentieth Century-Fox film The Blue Bird is briefly heard. The film's end credits include song titles, composers, lyricists and, unusually for 1950, publishers. Lionel Newman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture for his work on the production. I'll Get By was loosely based on a 1940 Twentieth Century-Fox film entitled Tin Pan Alley, which was directed by Walter Lang and starred Alice Faye and Betty Grable (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4664).