Walking My Baby Back Home


1h 35m 1953

Film Details

Also Known As
Nothing but the Blues
Release Date
Dec 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 30 Dec 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Clarence "Jigger" Millard leads an Army musical combo that performs what they call "highbrow bebop," classical tunes with a modern treatment. When the members are discharged, they plan to regroup in New York City, but singer Chris Hall, who secretly loves Jigger, refuses to join them, assuming that his wealthy, piano-making relatives will spurn her. Upon leaving the Army, Jigger brings Blimp to meet his mother, brother Rodney, sister Claire, and uncle Henry. At dinner, Henry reveals that Jigger's late father bequeathed his son one hundred thousand dollars, to be paid out upon his debut as an opera star. Unknown to his family, Jigger ducked out of ten years of opera lessons, and now wants only to frontline a big band. With six months before his scheduled debut, Jigger sets about to make his dream come true, charming his way into the office of musicians' manager Walter Thomas. Wally declares Jigger's music uncommercial, prompting Jigger to leave in a huff, but after months playing small sets to unappreciative crowds, he, too, becomes convinced that his music is missing an important ingredient. He spends hours trying to come up with the perfect sound for his band, but soon the discouraged band members give notice. Downhearted, Jigger and Blimp attend a minstrel show and are pleased to find Chris packing audiences in. They visit her backstage, however, and learn that the troupe, owned by her uncle, "Colonel" Dan Wallace, has given away most of the tickets to make the show appear more successful. Chris, who is thrilled to see Jigger again, offers her old bandmates a job with the minstrel show. Although their material is fresh, the minstrel program is outdated, and the show soon folds. Over the next weeks, Chris takes a job in a record store, and after hours, the trio stays up all night listening to albums, trying to identify the sound Jigger needs for his band. One night, Jigger walks Chris home, and they kiss. When he brings her to his home the next night, however, she grows dismayed by his family's chilly reception and the news that he is to perform an opera. Assuming that he is merely dabbling in the big band business before earning his fortune, Chris runs out, but Jigger follows her cab and, after announcing his love for her, climbs through his cab window into hers. One night soon after, Jigger, Blimp and Chris watch their old friend, Smiley Gordon, lead a Dixieland jazz band that has the audience dancing all night, and Jigger realizes that this is the sound he has been seeking. Smiley agrees that a combination of their styles, tagged "symphonic dixieland," might work, and together they assemble a big band. One night, Jigger proposes to Chris, who accepts happily. He then announces to his family that he will not sing the opera, but after Henry reveals that the family fortune is stretched so thin that they must have Jigger's inheritance to tide them over, Jigger is forced to agree to the debut. When Chris and the band reads about the opera in the paper, they believe he has been leading them on, and since Jigger has been sworn to secrecy about the dwindling fortune, he cannot convince them otherwise. Only Blimp sticks by Jigger as he attempts opera lessons, failing miserably. The night of the debut, Chris and the band show up to forgive Jigger, who, out of pure joy, loses his voice. Blimp plots to rescue his friend by having him lip-synch to an opera record played over the public address system, and although the plan initially succeeds, it is foiled when Jigger sneezes. Caught, Jigger hurriedly introduces his band and launches into their newest arrangement. By the end of the song, the audience, which is full of booking agents and Millard family members, rises to its feet for a standing ovation.

Film Details

Also Known As
Nothing but the Blues
Release Date
Dec 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 30 Dec 1953
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Nothing but the Blues. Although a March 1953 Los Angeles Herald Express review lists Kenny Williams as dance director, only Louis DaPron receives onscreen credit, as choreographer. Universal borrowed Janet Leigh from M-G-M to star in Walking My Baby Back Home. Sidney Miller, who played "Walter Thomas," often wrote and acted in Donald O'Connor's NBC television series, The Donald O'Connor Show, which ran from October 9, 1954 to October 9, 1955. Contemporary sources note that the film marked the first Universal musical since 1948's Up in Central Park. The title song, "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," was written in 1930 but did not become a hit until 1952, when singer Johnny Ray revived it. Although a November 1952 "Rambling Reporter" column in Hollywood Reporter reports that Peggy King was added to the cast, her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The picture marked the feature film debut of Buddy Hackett.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1953

Released in United States 1953