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Hollywood On 52nd Street

My Foolish Heart is the theme song to the 1949 film of the same name adapted from J. D. Salinger’s 1948 short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut. Directed by Mark Robson and starred Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward. The film tells the story of a woman’s reflections on the bad turns her life has taken.

Unfortunately for movie fans this remains the only authorized film adaptation of Salinger’s work as the filmmakers’ infidelity to his story famously precluded any possibility of film versions of other Salinger works, including The Catcher in the Rye. Though a lackluster and critical reception met the movie, Hayward was nominated for an Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Victor Young and Ned Washington for Best Music, Song for the title song and which has become a jazz standard.

The film was recognized with a nomination by American Film Institute in 2002 to AFI’s 100 Years…100 Passions, however, it did not make the list.

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Hollywood On 52nd Street

The song Ruby was composed by Heinz Eric Roemheld as the theme for the 1952 film Ruby Gentry. It subsequently became a jazz and pop standard, both as an instrumental and with lyrics by Mitchell Parish. The film was directed by King Vidor and starred Jennifer Jones as Ruby Corey/Gentry, Charlton Heston played Boake Tackman and Karl Malden held down the role of Jim Gentry. At the time of the film’s release the theme enjoyed much popularity in an orchestration by Les Baxter with harmonica solo by Danny Welton. 

The Story: Ruby, a poor backwoods girl living in the small North Carolina town of Braddock, is still in love with Boake Tackman. During high school, Ruby had rebuffed his aggressive advances, and was taken in for a couple of years by kind wealthy businessman and his wife, who protected her and taught her the skills a lady would need. She moves back home when her father needed her help. Boake’s family used to be wealthy, but after generations of profligacy all he has left is the land he has had drained and farmed. He starts a relationship with her but plans to marry a local woman with a rich family. When Ruby hears the news, she marries her former benefactor, Mr. Jim Gentry, whose invalid wife recently died, despite not loving him.

Her background keeps her from being accepted by most of Jim’s peers, most of whom decline to attend their after-wedding party. Insecure, Jim becomes jealous of her relationship with Boake, has a fight, calls her a tramp and she leaves in tears. Apologies ensue and while sailing she admits her lack of loving him, while a loose rope results in Jim being knocked overboard by the boom, leaving Ruby widowed and distraught. Now she becomes the local gold-digger and murderess, the town rebuffs her and she gets harassing phone calls.

Retaliating, Ruby uses Jim’s money to begin a campaign against everyone who slighted her, calling in debts to close down people’s businesses as well as the newspaper that slandered her. Still holding a soft spot for Boake she returns his promissory note but again he rebuffs her kindness as a way to buy him and her out of the swamp. Once again, woman scorned and she floods Boake land, ruins his crop and once calm, apologizes. However, her estranged brother Jewel begins shooting at them, killing Boake and in turn Ruby kills her brother and then laments her decisions that have caused so much pain. Now alone, Ruby becomes the skipper of a fishing boat, forever looked down upon by the townspeople.

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Hollywood On 52nd Street

The music for the now classic jazz standard Emily, was composed by Johnny Mandel and the lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer. It was the soundtrack for the 1964 comedy-drama war film The Americanization of Emily. Paddy Chayefsky wrote the screenplay, directed by Arthur Hiller and starred James Garner, Julie Andrews, James Coburn, Melvyn Douglas and Keenan Wynn

The Story: Set in World War II London during the build-up to D-Day in 1944, the British found their island hosting many thousands of American soldiers who were oversexed, overpaid, and over here. Enter cynical coward Charlie Madison (Garner) who knows all the angles to make life as smooth and risk-free as possible for himself. But things become complicated when he falls for an English woman (Andrews), and his commanding officer’s nervous breakdown leads to Charlie being sent on a senseless and dangerous mission.

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Hollywood On 52nd Street

The familiar standard, Jeepers Creepers is a collaborative effort between Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer for the 1938 musical comedy film Going Places. In the film Louis Armstrong sings the song to a horse by the name of Jeepers Creepers. Dick Powell and Anita Louise are the film’s stars and it received a nomination for an Oscar for Best Original Song when it premiered in the movie.

The Story: A sporting goods salesman is forced to pose as a famous horseman as part of his scheme to boost sales and gets entangled in his lies.

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Hollywood On 52nd Street

George and Ira Gershwin composed S’Wonderful and How Long Has This Been Going On were composed for the 1927 Broadway musical Funny Face by George and Ira Gershwin. S’Wonderful was used in the 1951 musical movie An American In Paris before making its appearance in this film. How Long Has this Been Going On was dropped from the Broadway musical and makes its introduction when Audrey Hepburn sing it in this 1957 movie musical of Funny Face that also starred Fred Astaire in a reprisal of his Broadway role. Although having the same title as the Broadway musical, the plot is totally different and only four of the songs in the stage musical are included. Kay Thompson also stars in a supporting role as Astaire portrays still photographer Dick Avery, loosely based on photographer Richard Avedon.

The Story: Maggie Prescott (Thompson) is a fashion magazine publisher and editor for Quality magazine, looking for the next big fashion trend. She wants a new look to be both “beautiful” and “intellectual”. She and famous fashion photographer Dick Avery want models that can “think as well as they look.” The two brainstorm and come up with the idea to find a “sinister-looking” bookstore in Greenwich Village and discover “Embryo Concepts.”

They put Jo Stockton (Hepburn) in the first shot and toss her out of the store until the shoot ends. Jo wants to go to Paris to hear famed philosopher Emile Flostre speak on empathicalism. Dispatched on an assignment, New York City-based fashion photographer Avery is struck by Jo’s beauty, a shy bookstore employee he’s photographed and he believes has the potential to become a successful model. He gets Jo to go with him to France, where he snaps more pictures of her against iconic Parisian backdrops. In the process, they fall for one another, only to find hurdles in their way.

Joao Gilberto & Lonette McKee/Dexter Gordon 

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