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I’ll See You In My Dreams

(1951 b 110')

En: 6 Ed: 5

An assertive woman helps a songwriter become a popular lyricist as they marry and raise a family.

         Grace LeBoy (Doris Day) plugs songs in Chicago, and Gus Kahn (Danny Thomas) pesters her at work and home to look at his songs. Her father recites poetry by Elizabeth Browning, and Gus leaves in shame. Grace writes a melody for his lyrics, but her boss won’t publish it. So she gets Fred Thompson (James Gleason) to publish “I Wish I Had a Girl.” Gus gives Grace two more lyrics but ignores her romantic setting.

         Years later Fred is surprised that Grace is not married to Gus. She plays a composer’s song for Gus. They quarrel, and Gus suggests they get married. Gus writes “Memories.” Grace tells Gus that she is pregnant, and he writes “Pretty Baby.” They hire Anna (Mary Wickes) as housekeeper.

         Grace takes a song that Fred rejected to Sam Harris (Jim Backus), and she sings “The One I Love.” During World War I they raise money and entertain troops. Grace has another baby, and Gus sings “It Had to Be You.”

         Gus bathes his daughter and gets a call from Ziegfeld but does not want to go to New York. Grace accepts for him, and he grabs the phone, hurting her eye. Gus in New York meets composer Walter Donaldson (Frank Lovejoy), who takes him to the races. Gus writes “Nothing Could Be Finer,” but Gloria Knight (Patrice Wymore) says she won’t sing it. She tells Gus to write more sophisticated lyrics. During a late party Gloria sings “Love Me Or Leave Me” on the phone to Grace.

         Whoopee opens, and Grace arrives. Gloria tells Grace that she fell for Gus but got nowhere. On a train Grace and Gus sing “Makin’ Whoopee.” Gus has several hits. Gus has a party at his house, and Fred urges him to come to Hollywood. Drunk Walter mocks Gus for being bossed by Grace.

         During the Depression the housekeeper Anna stays on without pay. Gus sells six songs for $50 and writes comic lyrics. Grace calls Fred. He calls Gus and offers him a picture. Gus gets upset because Grace decides everything, and he says he is leaving.

         In Hollywood aging Gus has trouble; he quits and collapses. Grace visits Gus in the hospital. Grace tells Walter that Gus needs a hit. Walter asks Gus for a hit. Fred calls Grace and says composers want to work with Gus. He writes and Grace sings “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Several more hits follow. Walter and Grace surprise Gus with a testimonial dinner. Gus thanks Grace and tells her that he loves her. Gus sings his first song with Grace.

         This musical biopic tells the story of the talented lyricist who wrote many hits with various composers, including his wife Grace, for Vaudeville, Broadway plays, and Hollywood movies. He had the humility and wisdom to love a wife who was more assertive than he.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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