The House I Live In (1945 film)
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|The House I Live In|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)|
|Produced by||Frank Ross
|Written by||Albert Maltz|
|Music by||Earl Robinson (song)|
|Cinematography||Robert De Grasse|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Running time||10 minutes|
The House I Live In is a ten-minute short film written by Albert Maltz, produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Frank Sinatra. Made to oppose anti-Semitism and racial prejudice at the end of World War II, it received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946.
Sinatra, apparently playing himself, takes a "smoke" break from a recording session. He sees more than 10 boys chasing a Jewish boy and intervenes, first with dialogue; then with a little speech. His main points are that we are "all" Americans and that just one American's blood is as good as another, all our religions are equally to be respected.
In the film, Sinatra sings the title song, and his recording became a national hit. The lyrics were written in 1943 by Abel Meeropol under the pen name Lewis Allan. (Meeropol later adopted Michael and Robert, the two orphaned sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after the 1953 execution of the couple.)
Meeropol was enraged that in the film, the second verse was cut. Meeropol protested against the deletion of the verse referring to "my neighbors white and black" when Sinatra's movie was first shown.
The music was written by Earl Robinson. Robinson was later blacklisted during the McCarthy era for being a member of the Communist Party. He also wrote campaign songs for the presidential campaigns of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry A. Wallace, and, in 1984, Jesse Jackson.
The song was memorably covered in later years by Paul Robeson, Mahalia Jackson, and Josh White. Sam Cooke also covered it. Sinatra continued to include it in his repertory, performing it in the Nixon White House and at the 1985 inaugural ceremonies of Ronald Reagan. Bill Cosby used a recording to open some of his shows in 2002.
The song figures prominently in Arch Oboler's radio play "The House I Live In," which aired on April 26, 1945.
The song originally appeared in the musical revue, Let Freedom Sing, which opened on Broadway on October 5, 1942. Brooks Atkinson wrote, "Although Mordecai Bauman does not sing it particularly well, he sings it with earnest sincerity, without feeling that he must imitate youth by blasting the voice amplifying system and cutting a rug."
- The House I Live In at the Internet Movie Database
- The short film The House I Live In is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]