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DVD SAVANT

My Dream is Yours
(from the Doris Day Collection Vol.2)


My Dream is Yours
Warner DVD
1949 / Color / 1:37 flat full frame / 101 min. / Street Date April 10, 2007 / 29.98; also available in the Doris Day Collection Vol. 2, at 59.98
Starring Jack Carson, Doris Day, Lee Bowman, Adolphe Menjou, Eve Arden, S.Z. Sakall, Selena Royle, Edgar Kennedy, Sheldon Leonard, Franklin Pangborn
Cinematography
Wilfred M. Cline, Ernest Haller
Art Direction Robert Haas
Film Editor Folmar Blangsted
Animation sequence Friz Freleng
Original Music Harry Warren
Written by Harry Kurnitz, Dane Lussier Laura Kerr, Allen Rivkin from a story by Paul Finder Moss, Jerry Wald
Produced by George Amy, Michael Curtiz
Directed by Michael Curtiz

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Doris Day made the transformation from band singer to movie star as smoothly as any personality on record. After her first starring musical Romance on the High Seas Hollywood insiders surely pegged her as the next America's Sweetheart. Producer-director Michael Curtiz followed up immediately with My Dream is Yours, a musical success story cut from whole cliché. The show is an acid test for star personality that Ms. Day passes with ease -- she overcomes every corny script situation. Smiling Jack Carson is technically first billed but is really there to lend support while the actress-singer formulates an appropriate screen persona.

Synopsis:

Agent Doug Blake (Jack Carson) rebels when popular singer Gary Mitchell (Lee Bowman), his meal-ticket star client, suddenly decides that he can do without representation. Miffed at Mitchell's ingratitude and the coldness of sponsor Thomas Hutchins (Adolph Menjou), Blake goes to New York to look for another potential star to promote. He's steered toward the wonderfully talented Martha Gibson (Doris Day), a jukebox disc jockey who 'auditions' by surreptitiously mixing her own singing voice over an instrumental record. Doug is sold on Martha, who is not keen on taking off for Hollywood and leaving her young son behind. With the financial help of pal Vivian Martin (Eve Arden), Doug obtains the desired auditions, but the novelty songs in Martha's repertoire do not impress the waltz-loving radio show sponsor Felix Hofer (S.Z. Sakall). Making matters worse, spoilsport and all-around bad egg Gary Mitchell captures Martha's attention. She's blind to Mitchell's insincerity.

The script of My Dream is Yours is a valentine to the Hollywood agent. Before the consolidation of agencies into Tinseltown power brokers, the stereotyped Hollywood agent was a creep who ran around signing young talent like Mephistopheles buying up souls. Jack Carson's Doug Blake couldn't be more different. He's fair with sponsors and radio moguls and shows the patience of Job with Lee Bowman's insufferable Gary Mitchell, a star he helped develop from nothing. Blake applies a 'can do' attitude to all setbacks, putting a maximum effort behind the spunky and confident Martha Gibson. The only person with a justifiable complaint is Blake's 'pal' Vivian. When funds run out Blake appropriates Vivian's apartment, car and money to keep Martha's promotion machine on its feet.

My Dream is Yours is a fluffy musical with a surprisingly cynical undercurrent. Radio executives and club owners are charming but ruthless, as exemplified by Adolphe Menjou's sponsor's representative. Blake expends a lot of sweat schmoozing and wooing an infantile sponsor played by S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall. The tubby Austrian has the attention span of an imbecile and rejects Martha because she sings goofy novelty songs. This crisis motivates Martha's conversion from pop trifle to 'serious' star candidate, when Blake finally realizes that his singer's forté is romantic ballads.

A big part of the film's fun is seeing Doris Day before her screen persona was fully formed. She isn't yet centering her appeal around her dimpled cheeks and broad, sincere smile, one of the most effectively endearing smiles in Hollywood history. Martha Gibson in fact spends quite a bit of the story with a depressed look on her face. She goes through the obligatory humiliating experience (singing in Sheldon Leonard's low-class clip joint) but is soon back taking Doug Blake's wholesome advice. Even in 1948, show business women traveling alone were typed as loose characters, so My Dream is Yours sanitizes Martha by making her a war widow with an adorable son. That leads to the film's noted musical number combining animation and live-action. Bugs Bunny comes alive to sing an Easter song, joined by Day and Carson in bunny suits. Animation fans may be pleased by the scene, but in terms of quality filmmaking it may be the absolute low point of the post-war musical ... it's the 'family film' equivalent of eating ground glass. Luckily, Ms. Day's charm overcomes all obstacles.

Complications set in when Martha falls in love with the drunken Gary Mitchell, who merely wants to use her to crawl back up to his previous star roost. Gibson almost loses our respect for having anything at all to do with this weasel, and My Dream is Yours' tidy finish deserves points for nominating Jack Carson as a suitable romantic catch. Carson's usually too abrasive to be leading man material but his hardworking Doug Blake earns the right to the fade-out kiss (behind a screen, of course).

Michael Curtiz lends smooth direction to this old-fashioned and mildly pleasing steppingstone for Ms. Day's budding screen career. She'd soon be taking on small dramatic roles as well, and by the early fifties would be established as a top star.


Warners' DVD of My Dream is Yours is another fine-looking disc from a 3-strip Technicolor original. Even the 'atmosphere' shots of Hollywood streets are in great shape, with no fuzziness or mis-registration to speak of. Colors are in the warm Warner house style; the browns and yellows here contrast with the cool blues that seemed to predominate over at Fox. The mono soundtrack is particularly dynamic, another Warners characteristic of the time. Extras include the Joe McDoakes comedy So You Want to Be an Actor, The Grass is Always Greener and the cartoon A Ham in the Role. An agreeably sappy vintage trailer rounds out the playbill.


On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, My Dream is Yours rates:
Movie: Very Good
Video: Excellent
Sound: Excellent
Supplements: Comedy shortSo You Want to be an Actor?, dramatic short The Grass is Always Greener, cartoon Ham in a Role, Trailer.
Packaging: Keep case
Reviewed: April 17, 2007

Republished by permission of Turner Classic Movies.




DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson

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