My Gal Sal
|My Gal Sal|
|Directed by||Irving Cummings|
|Produced by||Robert Bassler|
|Written by||Seton I. Miller
Helen Richardson (uncredited contributing writer)
|Based on||story "My Brother Paul" from the book Twelve Men
by Theodore Dreiser
|Music by||Leigh Harline
Cyril J. Mockridge
|Edited by||Robert L. Simpson|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$1.7 million (US rentals)|
My Gal Sal is a 1942 20th Century Fox musical starring Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. The film is a biopic of 1890s composer and songwriter Paul Dresser and singer Sally Elliot. It was based on a biographical essay, sometimes erroneously referred to as a book, by Dresser's younger brother, novelist Theodore Dreiser. (Dreiser was the original family name.) Some of the songs portrayed as Dresser's work were actually written by him, but several were created for the film by the Hollywood songwriting team of Ralph Grainger and Leo Robin.
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Sally Elliott (Rita Hayworth), a musical star meets up with Indiana boy Paul Dresser (Victor Mature), a runaway who after a brief stopover with a medicine show arrives in Gay Nineties New York. He composes the title tune for the fair lady and becomes the toast of Tin Pan Alley.
- Rita Hayworth as Sally Elliott (singing voice was dubbed by Nan Wynn)
- Victor Mature as Paul Dresser (singing voice was dubbed by Ben Gage)
- John Sutton as Fred Haviland
- Carole Landis as Mae Collins
- James Gleason as Pat Hawley
- Phil Silvers as Wiley
- Walter Catlett as Col. Truckee
- Mona Maris as Countess Mariana Rossini
- Frank Orth as McGuinness
- Stanley Andrews as Mr. Dreiser
- Margaret Moffatt as Mrs. Dreiser (as Margaret Moffat)
- Terry Moore: Carrie Dreiser
- Libby Taylor as Ida, Sally's Maid
20th Century Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck purchased the story of My Gal Sal from Theodore Dreiser for $50,000 in the summer of 1942. Zanuck initially had the script and the lead role of Sally Elliott tailor-made to fit the talents of Fox's biggest female star at the time, Alice Faye. However, Faye opted that she was tired of starring in costume musicals and turned the film down. Afterward, the part was offered to Betty Grable, who was becoming known as a successor to Faye at Fox, but who turned it down, believing Fox was over-working her.
Zanuck thereafter had the script rewritten and redirected to showcase Irene Dunne, but her busy film schedule meant holding up production on My Gal Sal for eighteen months. Zanuck subsequently approached Mae West with the role, but she too turned it down. To this end, Zanuck considered grooming newcomer Carole Landis for the part, but her screen test failed to impress the producers. Despite not winning the part of Sally Elliott, Landis did end up playing the secondary lead of Mae Collins in the film, because she had already been publicized to be appearing the film.
Zanuck finally approached Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, about borrowing Rita Hayworth for the film. Zanuck had been impressed with Hayworth's performance in the 1941 film version of Blood and Sand, also for Fox. Cohn, on the other hand, was hoping to buy My Gal Sal from Fox and cast Hayworth in the part upon the film's transfer to Columbia. Zanuck, however, rebuffed at selling the film, but instead offered Hayworth an exclusive two-movie contract to star in My Gal Sal and Tales of Manhattan (1942). Cohn eventually agreed to loan Hayworth to Fox for both movies.
My Gal Sal received positive reviews upon its 1942 release.
Daily Variety said the film was a very "lively, merry musical treat. A pricture crammed with color, songs, and movement, carrying broad appeal for all theatergoers, both young and old." Hayworth was proclaimed to have done a "beautiful job" as Sally, while Victor Mature turned out an "impressing performance" as Dresser.
Life stated: My Gal Sal hits a current demand, both in the movies and in radio, for the nostalgic delights of the 1890s."
The film went on to become one of the most-successful Fox films during 1942.
- "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58
- "WHICH CINEMA FILMS HAVE EARNED THE MOST MONEY SINCE 1914?.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956). Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 4 March 1944. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Weekend magazine. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "NY Times: My Gal Sal". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- Theodore Dreiser Biography Is Bought by Fox -- Monogram Gives Production Schedule By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILLSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 Mar 1941: 17.
- Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 Dec 1941: 24