Irish Eyes Are Smiling


1h 30m 1944

Film Details

Also Known As
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Release Date
Oct 1944
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 19 Oct 1944
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,150ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

In 1911, songwriter Ernest R. Ball is dismissed from his job as an instructor at the Cleveland Conservatory of Music for writing sentimental ballads. Ernest then goes to a burlesque theater in search of Belle La Tour, a singer to whom he has written regarding one of his songs. In Belle's dressing room is Mary "Irish" O'Neill, a diminutive singer and dancer, who is not afraid to let loose with a dangerous left hook when confronted by a fresh man. Irish, who is in the dressing room while recuperating from an encounter with the overly familiar stage electrician, does not reveal her true identity to Ernest and instead encourages him when he sings one of his ballads. Belle arrives and spoils Irish's deception, however, by firing her and ordering Ernest to leave. Outside, Ernest and Irish talk as they stroll and discover that they are both orphans who have dreams of building successful careers in New York City. Having fallen in love with Irish, Ernest begs her to postpone her trip to New York until he has enough money to accompany her, but she insists on leaving the next morning. Determined to raise the cash for the trip, Ernest goes to a vaudeville house to sell one of his songs. Middleweight champion boxer Stanley Ketchel is moved to tears by one of Ernest's touching ballads, but his cantankerous manager, Edgar Brawley, assumes that Ernest stole the song. Ernest angrily leaves, but returns during Stanley's show, when Stanley offers twenty-five dollars per round to any man who can fight him. The sentimental Stanley refrains from pounding Ernest too hard, and the young composer wins seventy-five dollars, with which he then travels to New York. Despite his best efforts, Ernest cannot find Irish and soon takes a job as a song plugger with Leo Betz's music publishing company. Leo sends Ernest to a fancy nightclub with a tune for vaudeville singer Lucille Lacey, but when Edgar, who is surprised to see the young man, laughs at him, Ernest launches into a well-received rendition of one of his own compositions. Lucille is so impressed with Ernest that she takes him under her wing and introduces his songs in her shows. In less than a year, Ernest becomes well-known and his songs are performed throughout the country. Although Lucille is interested in Ernest romantically, he still thinks only of Irish and is delighted to find her working as a hat check girl at a posh restaurant. Irish is embarrassed by her lowly job, however, and refuses to believe that Ernest still loves her, but he finally persuades her to quit her job and leave with him. While Ernest is waiting for Irish, he overhears Edgar making a bet with Lucille's smooth-talking friend, Al Jackson, who always wins their wagers. Edgar bets $25,000 that he can make a musical comedy star out of the next woman to leave the ladies lounge, and although Al tries to cheat, Ernest arranges for Irish to be the woman Edgar must pick. The confused Irish believes that Ernest and his high society friends are making fun of her and storms out, and Al insists that Edgar stick to his bet. Hoping to get rid of Irish so that she can have Ernest to herself, Lucille arranges for her to be employed in a small theater out of town. Although Ernest and Edgar conduct a frantic search for Irish, Al finds her first and promises her a job at his new theater in Cuba. As Irish prepares to sail to Cuba, Ernest finds her and pleads with her to return to him. Mistakenly believing that Ernest loves Lucille, Irish refuses, and the dispirited Ernest disembarks. After the boat sets sail, however, a drunken Al reveals the true nature of the bet to Irish, and that Ernest really does love her. Irish returns to New York aboard the pilot's boat, but when she goes to Ernest's hotel, she discovers that he has left abruptly. Edgar comforts the heartbroken Irish by putting on a new show with her as the star. He advertises the use of Ernest's new song, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," and Ernest, believing that Edgar has stolen his composition, rushes back to New York. Ernest and Irish are reunited backstage, where she tells him that she will give him a black eye unless he kisses her. The show is a success, and although Edgar happily collects his wager from Al, who has returned from Cuba, he is infuriated to learn that Al is the ultimate winner because he is the show's secret backer.

Cast

Monty Woolley

Edgar Brawley

June Haver

Mary "Irish" O'Neill

Dick Haymes

Ernest R. Ball

Anthony Quinn

Al Jackson

Beverly Whitney

Lucille Lacey

Maxie Rosenbloom

Stanley Ketchel

Veda Ann Borg

Belle La Tour

Clarence Kolb

Leo Betz

Leonard Warren

Blanche Thebom

Chick Chandler

Stage manager

Kenny Williams

Specialty dancer

Michael Dalmatoff

Headwaiter

Alphonse Martell

Headwaiter

Marian Martin

Prima Donna

Charles Williams

Song plugger

Bob Perry

Trainer

Russ Clark

Trainer

Art Foster

Sparring partner

John Sheehan

Referee, stage manager

Jean Del Val

Waiter

Marietta Canty

Phoebe

Joey Ray

Electrician

George Chandler

Electrician

John Harmon

Leg man

Sam Wren

Piano player

Harry Seymour

Piano player

Mary Adams Hayes

Acrobat

Ray Spiker

Acrobat

Leo Mostovoy

Pawnbroker

Mary Gordon

Irishwoman

Emmett Vogan

Purser

Pat O'malley

Stewart

John Maxwell Hayes

Clerk

Frank Marlowe

Hoofer

Ray Walker

Hoofer

Charles Wilson

Detective

John Duncan

Call boy

Maurice Cass

Dr. Medford

Edward Cooper

Butler

Dink Trout

Meek husband

Minerva Urecal

Militant wife

Arthur Hohl

Barker

Lee Murray

Walters

J. Farrell Macdonald

Doorman

Robert Homans

Policeman

Eddie Acuff

Harry

Billy Newell

Hotel clerk

Frank Jaquet

News clerk

Fred Howard

Stage manager

Max Smith

Quartette member

Martin Sperzel

Quartette member

John Rarig

Quartette member

Gurney Bell

Quartette member

Lester Allen

Heming

Emma Dunn

Mother Machree

Evelyne Eager

Mary Stewart

Grace Davies

Teddy Blue

Valerie Traxler

Ed Stanbridge

Robert Hamilton

Al Gallagher

Allan Ross

Riley Thompson

Mary Jane Shores

Bill Benter

Film Details

Also Known As
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Release Date
Oct 1944
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 19 Oct 1944
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,150ft (10 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Score

1944

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the picture was When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. The film is loosely based on the life of composer Ernest R. Ball (1878-1927), who achieved immense popularity with his sentimental ballads. Ball studied at the Cleveland Conservatory before moving to New York City, where he worked in vaudeville and then as a composer at a music publishing company. He achieved great success with his songs and vaudeville performances, and wrote scores for several Broadway musicals. Ball, who was married twice, had three children with his first wife.
       According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Vivian Blaine was originally set to star in the film. According to a studio press release, quoted in a Hollywood Reporter news item, director Gregory Ratoff was assigned to the picture "because of his knowledge of Irish folklore and his collection of clay pipes." The picture marked the feature-film debuts of Metropolitan opera singers Blanche Thebom and Leonard Warren. Alfred Newman received an Academy Award nomination in the Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture) category. On March 15, 1948, Lux Radio Theatre presented a radio broadcast of the story starring Dick Haymes and Jeanne Crain.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 1944

Released in United States Fall October 1944