(Charles Vidor, US 1955, 122 min., 35mm)
In Memoriam: Doris Day. Jazz singer Ruth Etting is brought gloriously to life by Doris Day in this biopic. The film follows her career—rising from 1920s taxi dancer to movie star—and troubled marriage to her mobster husband (James Cagney). Etting was a nightclub singer with looks and a great voice, but it took Chicago mobster Marty “The Gimp” Snyder to make her a star in Hollywood and on Broadway. Simultaneously aided and frustrated by her husband’s headstrong ways and pressure tactics, Etting in her offstage life becomes haunted by fear and violence at the hands of the cruel gangster. Love Me or Leave Me succeeds as both crime drama and musical—the latter greatly enhanced by Day’s vocal talent in the film’s twelve complete musical numbers.