Dorothy Kirsten and Bing Crosby in Mr. Music
|Directed by||Richard Haydn|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||110 minutes|
|Box office||$2.3 million (US/ Canada rentals)|
New York theater producer Alex Conway (Charles Coburn) travels with composer Paul Merrick (Bing Crosby) to Lawford College, Paul's alma mater, where one of his musicals is being revived by the students. The current Lawford College hero is handsome athlete Jefferson Blake, (Robert Stack) so Katherine Holbrook, (Nancy Olson) class valedictorian and chairman of the welcoming committee for returning alumni, asks Paul to work in a phrase about Jeff in one of his songs. Although Paul balks at the suggestion, Kate's matter-of-fact manner leaves no room for discussion.
After the show is over, Paul and Alex return to New York, and although Paul is broke, he would rather play golf than attempt to work. When he asks Alex for a $15,000 advance against his next musical, which Alex intends to produce with financing from multi-millionaire Tippy Carpenter, (Donald Woods) Alex agrees on condition that Paul take on a secretary, who will make sure that he works and will not squander the money. Paul laughingly accepts, but has second thoughts when he finds that Alex has hired the ever-serious Kate as his secretary.
Although Kate continually hounds Paul to work, Paul snubs her efforts so that he can play golf, and entertain Lorna Marvis, (Ruth Hussey) his girl friend. Frustrated by her lack of success, Kate, an aspiring psychiatrist, accuses Paul of being afraid of failure. Paul intends to fire Kate, but feels guilty because he would be breaking his agreement with Alex. After Lorna announces her intention to marry Tippy for his money,
Paul discovers that Kate and her Aunt Amy (Ida Moore) have moved into the guest room of his penthouse apartment. Paul gets to work composing a new score, and when Jeff comes to town, Paul encourages him to take Kate out. For the first time, Jeff sees Kate's charms and kisses her, even though it means breaking training. However, Kate discovers that she is more interested in Paul, who is older, than in Jeff.
After three weeks, Paul throws a party to celebrate the fact that he has written eight songs and completed the score for the musical revue, Mr. Music. The day after the party, Jeff tells Paul that he is losing competitions because he cannot stop thinking about Kate, even though he knows Kate is in love with Paul. Paul is surprised to hear about Kate's feelings, and when Lorna returns to him and they become engaged, he tells Kate about Jeff's visit, and that she should pursue someone closer to her own age.
Kate is devastated and plans to quit, but refrains when she learns that Tippy has pulled his money from the show. Aunt Amy tries to interest her wealthy friend, Jerome Thisbee, (Claud Curdle) in backing the show, but Alex and Paul are disappointed when Thisbee offers only $300, not the $300,000 they need. Kate then announces her plan to return to graduate school, but instead returns to Lawford after Paul's butler, "Cupcake" Haggerty, (Tom Ewell) brings news that the Friars' Club has agreed to help them.
Some time later, Paul brings Alex to Lawford to let him in on the surprise: The college students, aided by name performers such as comedian Groucho Marx, Metropolitan Opera singer Dorothy Kirsten, dancers Marge and Gower Champion, who portray themselves along with the singing group The Merry Macs, have put on Mr. Music for the benefit of several potential backers.
Although the backers refuse to finance the show with Alex as producer, Thisbee comes through with a certified check for $300,000. Lorna, who realizes she is more interested in money than Paul, ends their engagement and asks Kate to return the ring. As Kate has rejected Jeff, who is back on a winning streak, she asks Paul if she can keep the ring, and when he consents, they become engaged.
- Bing Crosby as Paul Merrick
- Nancy Olson as Katherine Holbrook
- Charles Coburn as Alex Conway
- Ruth Hussey as Lorna Marvis
- Robert Stack as Jefferson Blake
- Tom Ewell as "Cupcake" Haggerty
- Ida Moore as Aunt Amy
- Charles Kemper as Mr. Danforth
- Donald Woods as Tippy Carpenter
- Claud Curdle as Jerome Thisbee
and featuring as themselves:
- Director: Richard Haydn
- Producer: Robert L. Welch
- Assistant Director: Harry Caplan
- 2nd Assistant Director: Danny McCauley
- Dialogue Director: James Vincent
- Director of Photography: George Barnes
- Composer: James Van Heusen
- Composer: Johnny Burke
- Choreography: Gower Champion
- 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952