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I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951)

I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951)

Michael Curtiz directed this musical biography of lyricist Gus Kahn; the screenplay was written by Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson who would go on to share Oscar nominations for The Seven Little Foys (1955) & Houseboat (1958). Cigar smoking Danny Thomas plays Kahn and Doris Day plays his wife the former Grace LeBoy a song demonstrator (e.g. promoter) that wrote the music for his first songs; according to the film she was also a part time singer and piano player who managed her husband’s career to the point of his feeling somewhat emasculated.

In addition to “Shine on Harvest Moon” and other period songs familiar Kahn hits included in the film include: “It Had to Be You” “Yes Sir That’s My Baby” “Carolina in the Morning” “Love Me or Leave Me” (which ironically is the title of a 1955 biographical romance drama about singer Ruth Etting played by Day and co-starring James Cagney) as sung by Ziegfeld star Gloria Knight (Patrice Wymore dubbed by Bonnie Lou Williams) and “Makin’ Whoopee” among many others sung by Thomas and/or Day.

In addition to Wymore Frank Lovejoy plays New York tune writer Walter Donaldson. James Gleason plays music producer Fred Thompson who’d first given LeBoy-Kahn their first break. Mary Wickes plays the Kahn’s cook-housekeeper and nanny to their two children – Donald and Irene and Jim Backus appears briefly as a Broadway show producer. Appearing uncredited are Vince Barnett as a burlesque comedian and Hans Conried as Grace’s employer.

Kahn shared an Academy Award nomination with Robert Stolz for their original song (not in this film) “Waltzing in the Clouds” from Spring Parade (1940); his first Oscar nomination was shared with lyricist Edward Eliscu and Vincent Youmans for a song only referenced in this film “Carioca” from a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers dance sequence in Flying Down to Rio (1933).

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