The Stars Are Singing


1h 39m 1953

Brief Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Katri Walenska (Amma Maria Alberghetti) jumps a Polish ship, swims ashore and enters New York illegally. The United States Immigration officials are alerted---the USA still had a functioning immigration policy and department when this was filmed---and the search is on. Katri's only possessions are a ten-dollar bill and a letter to her parents' old friend, Jan Poldi (Lauritz Melchior), a former Metropolitan Opera star. She finds him in a shabby Greenwich Village apartment. His neighbors in the apartment house are three Broadway hopefuls; pop singer Terry Brennan (Rosemary Clooney), hoofer Buddy Fraser (Tom Morton) and Homer Tirdell (Bob Williams) and his talented dog Red Dust. (Pardon me, make that four Broadway hopefuls counting the dog.) When Terry hears Katri's magnificent singing voice, she scurries around New York to get her an audition and succeeds in getting her a spot on Don Wilson's televised amatuer hour. She wins the contest but unwittingly reveals her true identity as an illegal alien, which causes the arrest of Poldi, Wilson and Dave (John Archer), Terry's lawyer boyfriend. Katri faces deportation.

Film Details

Also Known As
Reach for the Stars
Release Date
Mar 1953
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 10 Mar 1953
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New York City, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,915ft

Synopsis

As the Polish Communist ship S.S. Podolski enters New York Harbor, a fifteen-year-old orphan stowaway, Katri Walenska, jumps into the water and swims to shore in the hope of finding freedom in America. With little more than a street address in hand, Katri seeks refuge with an old family friend, the opera star Jan Poldi. When Katri arrives, however, she is disappointed to discover that Poldi has become a down-and-out alcoholic and does not remember her. U.S. Immigration officer McDougall and a malevolent Polish government representative, Ladowski, set out to find Katri, who has a magnificent voice. Meanwhile, Katri befriends Poldi's neighbors, Terry Brennan, a singer; Homer Tirdell, a hapless Texas dog act performer and piano player; and Buddy Fraser, a dancer. Terry, Homer and Buddy eventually discover that the young girl is the sought-after Polish stowaway, but after Terry persuades the others that Katri's talents as a singer will help propel them to fame and open the way to successful stage careers of their own, they decide to risk a jail sentence and hide her. While Terry's doting boyfriend, teacher Dave Parish, tries to find a legal way to keep Katri in the country, Terry takes the girl to the Britt Recording Studios, where she makes several recordings. Terry sends the records to disc jockeys around the country, and then tries to interest television talent show host Don Wilson in having Katri appear on his show under the billing "Mamie Jones." Wilson initially rejects Terry's proposal but later changes his mind when Terry threatens to take Katri to a competing show. Katri is a big hit on the show, but immediately following her performance, she reveals her real name, which causes a furor at the studio. In a short time, however, radio listeners all across the country rally to Katri's defense and show their support for her through picketing and letter-writing. When Katri learns that Poldi has been arrested in connection with harboring an illegal alien, she gives herself up and resigns herself to her inevitable deportation. To her surprise, though, Katri receives a telephone call from President Eisenhower, who, responding to the public outcry, has arranged to let her stay in America.

Film Details

Also Known As
Reach for the Stars
Release Date
Mar 1953
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 10 Mar 1953
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
New York City, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,915ft

Quotes

Trivia

This musical was Rosemary Clooney's film debut, two years after she had a big hit singing "Come-On-A-My-House", which she sings in this movie.

Notes

The working title for this film was Reach for the Stars. Only Anna Maria Alberghetti and Rosemary Clooney are listed in the end credits. The screen credit for Jay Livingston and Ray Evans reads "New songs by." The picture marked popular singer Rosemary Clooney's motion picture debut. Ross Bagdasarian, who portrayed a song promoter in the film, created the popular "Alvin and the Chipmunks" records, as well as co-writing one of Clooney's most popular songs, "Come On-A-My House." According to ParNews, some scenes were filmed on location in New York City, on Broadway, in Greenwich Village and at the Washington Produce Market. Although a Hollywood Reporter news item announced that music conductor Paolo Alberghetti, Anna Maria's father, had been cast in the picture, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.