Love Me or Leave Me (film)

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Love Me or Leave Me
Love me or leave me.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed by Charles Vidor
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Written by Daniel Fuchs
Isobel Lennart
Starring Doris Day
James Cagney
Cameron Mitchell
Music by Chilton Price
Cinematography Arthur E. Arling
Edited by Ralph E. Winters
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • May 26, 1955 (1955-05-26)
Running time
122 minutes
Country United States
Language English
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 which 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 Myrl Alderman, her second husband. It was written by Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart and directed by Charles Vidor.

Plot[edit]

After kicking a customer for getting fresh, 1920s Chicago nightclub singer 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.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Cagney suggested to producer Joe Pasternak that Doris Day be cast in the Etting role. The role had been sought by Ava Gardner (singing probably dubbed by Jo Ann Greer) and Jane Russell, but Cagney persuaded MGM to cast Doris Day, who was excited to play opposite Cagney.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Love Me or Leave Me won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (James Cagney), Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Music, Song (for Nicholas Brodzsky and Sammy Cahn for "I'll Never Stop Loving You"), Best Sound, Recording (Wesley C. Miller) and Best Writing, Screenplay.[3]

Variety called the film "a rich canvas of the Roaring '20s, with gutsy and excellent performances."[4]


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.

Songs[edit]

Most of the songs in the movie were 1930s hits that Etting had recorded originally. Two new songs, however, were written specifically for the film: "Never Look Back", by Chilton Price, and, "I'll Never Stop Loving You", by Nicholas Brodzsky and Sammy Cahn.[4]

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

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  4. ^ a b Variety's review Posted: Sat., Jan. 1, 1955
  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]