Love Me or Leave Me (film)

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Love Me or Leave Me
Love me or leave me.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed byCharles Vidor
Produced byJoe Pasternak
Written byDaniel Fuchs
Isobel Lennart
StarringDoris Day
James Cagney
Cameron Mitchell
Music byGeorge Stoll
CinematographyArthur E. Arling
Edited byRalph E. Winters
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 26, 1955 (1955-05-26)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2.76 million[1]
Box office$5.6 million[1][2]

Love Me or Leave Me is a 1955 biographical romantic musical drama film that tells the life story of Ruth Etting, a singer who rose from dancer to movie star. It stars Doris Day as Etting, James Cagney as gangster Martin "Moe the Gimp" Snyder, her first husband and manager, and Cameron Mitchell as pianist/arranger Johnny Alderman, her second husband. It was written by Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart and directed by Charles Vidor.


After kicking a customer for getting fresh, 1920s Chicago nightclub singer and dime-a-dance girl Ruth Etting is in jeopardy of losing her job when Martin Snyder intervenes on her behalf. Snyder, known as "The Gimp" to some because of his game leg, owns a laundry business and runs a protection racket, wielding considerable clout.

Etting and her piano accompanist Johnny Alderman are grateful, but Snyder makes it clear he expects Etting to travel to Miami with him, not for business but for pleasure. Etting declines, but Snyder's interest in her continues. Through an agent, Bernie Loomis, he arranges a radio program to feature Etting, followed by a job with the famed Ziegfeld Follies. His crude behavior and violent temper cause Etting a number of problems along the way.

Johnny is in love with Etting as well, but she marries Snyder out of gratitude. His heavy-handed management continues as her popularity grows. Goaded to get into the entertainment business, Snyder decides to open a nightclub of his own. Upset at sensing a relationship resuming between Etting and Johnny during their filming of a Hollywood movie, Snyder strikes her. He then catches them together, shoots Johnny and is arrested.

Horrified but conflicted because of all Snyder has done for her career, Etting arranges for Loomis to bail him out of jail. At his neglected nightclub, Snyder arrives to find that Etting is performing there herself. At first enraged by what he perceives as an act of charity, Snyder finally realizes this is Etting's way of showing her appreciation, even if she can't be part of his life any longer.



The role of Snyder was originally intended for Spencer Tracy, who turned it down. Cagney suggested to producer Joe Pasternak that Doris Day be cast in the Etting role. The role had been sought by Ava Gardner and Jane Russell.


Variety called the film "a rich canvas of the Roaring '20s, with gutsy and excellent performances."[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[4] Best Actor James Cagney Nominated
Best Screenplay Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart Nominated
Best Motion Picture Story Daniel Fuchs Won
Best Scoring of a Musical Picture Percy Faith and Georgie Stoll Nominated
Best Song "I'll Never Stop Loving You" – Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn Nominated
Best Sound Recording Wesley C. Miller Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Charles Vidor Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Written American Musical Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart Won

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Box office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $4,035,000 in the US and Canada and $1,597,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $595,000.[1] Love Me or Leave Me was the eighth ranked movie in 1955.


All but two of the songs in the movie were hits that Etting had recorded originally back in the 1920s and early 1930s. These new songs, written specifically for the film, are "Never Look Back" by Chilton Price and "I'll Never Stop Loving You" by Nicholas Brodzsky and Sammy Cahn.[3]

The songs as they appear in the film (all sung by Doris Day except as shown):

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ For domestic take see also 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  3. ^ a b Variety's review Posted: Sat., Jan. 1, 1955
  4. ^ "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-21.
  5. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  6. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  7. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.

External links[edit]