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For Me and My Gal

For Me and My Gal(1942)


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Working titles of the film were Me and My Gal and The Big Time. A written prologue reads: "There is a chapter in American history which has never been amply recorded. It embraces one of America's greatest loves-that part of show business called 'Vaudeville'...The clown with the baggy pants, the man in the high hat, the lady who sang and the rabbit who disappeared-to them this picture is fondly dedicated." At several points within the film the passage of time is indicated by inclusion of actual World War I-era newsreel footage.
       In addition to the songs credited above, the film contained portions of a number of popular World War I era songs, among them, "By the Beautiful Sea," "After You've Gone," "Ballin' the Jack," "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm," "There's a Long, Long Trail" and "Where Do We Go from Here." According to news items, two additional songs were recorded or written for the production but were not included in the released film, "Spell of the Waltz," which was to be performed by Marta Eggerth and a male chorus and "Three Cheers for the Yanks," written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin. A Hollywood Reporter news item also mentioned that George Murphy was going to perform a combined jitterbug and soft-shoe dance, but that was not in the picture.
       For Me and My Gal marked the motion picture debut of Broadway musical comedy performer Gene Kelly (1919-1996). A Hollywood Reporter news items noted that Murphy was initially cast in the role of "Harry Palmer," but was switched to the role of "Jimmy Metcalfe" because the Harry Palmer role was so similar to the lead role that Kelly had played in the Broadway hit Pal Joey. The New York Times review also pointed out the similarities between the two roles, although the reviewer did not appreciate the similarities, writing: "...Mr. Kelly, who has a dancer's talents, has been pressed a bit too far in his first film role. He has been forced to act brassy like Pal Joey during the early part...and play a modest imitation Sergeant York at the end. The transition is both written and played badly. Mr. Kelly gets embarrassingly balled up." Kelly made films in a variety of genres over the next few years but became best known for his energetic dancing style in M-G-M hits such as Anchors Aweigh (1945, ), On the Town (1950, see below) and An American in Paris (1951). Kelly, who was a choreographer and director as well as a dancer and singer, received a special Academy Award in 1951 in recognition of his outstanding achievement as an actor, dancer, singer and director. He also received a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1985. The song "For Me and My Gal" became one of Kelly's signature songs. The film marked the American motion picture debut of Eggerth. A Hollywood Reporter news item included Bryant Washburn in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film received Academy Award nominations for Roger Edens for Musical Adaptation and for Georgie Stoll for Musical Direction.