Cast & Crew
Englishman Robert Gregory, an understudy in a Broadway musical, gets an opportunity to play the leading role on the eve of his deportation from the country. En route to the boat, his taxi collides with another cab that is carrying Patricia O'Malley, who is also headed to the boat to marry Charles Gardner, an eccentric millionaire she doesn't love. It is a case of love at first sight, and they are very much relieved when they discover that they have missed the boat. Meanwhile, aboard the boat, Pat's tardiness prompts Charles to believe that he has been jilted, and accompanied by his butler, Griggs, he disembarks before it sails, while Bob's absence prompts the immigration authorities to issue a warrant for his arrest. Learning of Bob's jeopardy, Pat insists that he spend the night at her Uncle Luigi's, where he immediately wins the favor of Pat's kid sister Mary. The next day, Charles begins a campaign to win Pat back, and sends Griggs to Sascha's restaurant as an ambassador. To disrupt the peace talks, Bob pretends to be a waiter, and Griggs finds his face vaguely familiar. After Griggs departs, Bob proposes to Pat and she accepts. That night at dinner, Pat tells Charles of her decision, and Briggs, finally recognizing Bob as the fugitive whose picture appeared in the paper, suggests that they turn him into the police. When Charles, always the gentleman, refuses, Griggs plants a story in the paper about the wife and three children that Bob has left behind, causing Pat to return to Charles. Meanwhile, Bob, dejected, learns that Sascha is threatened with eviction and offers to turn himself in while performing on Andre Kostelanetz's new radio program. As Pat despondently listens to the sound of Bob's voice over the radio, Charles realizes that she still loves him and, upon learning of Griggs' scheme, reconciles the lovers and adopts Bob to make him a citizen.
Andre Kostelanetz And His Band
James Edward Grant
M. W. Stoloff
Music In My Heart - Music in My Heart
Music in My Heart was actually intended as a vehicle for Tony Martin, the popular singer who had just left his contract at 20th-Century-Fox (and a marriage to their resident musical leading lady, Alice Faye) to freelance. This was his first film on his own, but far from floundering after leaving the security of his studio contract, Martin was flourishing. He had just signed a recording contract with Decca, and his first release, "Begin the Beguine" backed with "September Song," had sold a million copies. His popular radio series Tune-Up Time paired him with bandleader Andre Kostelanetz, who would play himself in the film.
Hayworth had been at Columbia a few years already, mostly with minor roles in low-budget films. She had just completed a juicy supporting role as Richard Barthelmess' faithless wife in Only Angels Have Wings (1939), but studio management had not yet realized the impact she had made in the film. In fact, she only got the lead in Music in My Heart because Martin asked for her. With her next film, Blondie on a Budget (1940), she was back to the Bs, still waiting for her breakthrough.
Hayworth's role in Music in My Heart was really just window dressing, as the action focused primarily on Martin's attempts to stay in the country when he's threatened with deportation just as he's about to become a Broadway star (a plot reflected in the film's working title, Passport to Happiness. Despite her early fame as a dancer, she only got to do a brief routine in the film, hardly a showcase.
If Music in My Heart showcased anyone, it was the comics. Eric Blore, best remembered for his roles in such Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers classics as Top Hat (1935), had another role as the ultimate gentleman's gentleman, joining forces with employer Mowbray to keep Hayworth from getting too close to Martin. George Tobias, who would go on to play Abner Kravitz in the television series Bewitched, got to steal scenes as a Russian expatriate living in Martin's boarding house.
With Martin in the male lead, the film had to feature some top tunes, most of them by the team of Chet Forrest and Bob Wright. One of the most successful teams in music history, Forrest and Wright worked together as partners for 72 years. The two had first scored with "The Donkey Serenade," then signed on at MGM where they wrote scores for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald among others. After their Hollywood years, they would win Broadway's Tony Award for the Arabian Nights musical Kismet and also score with The Song of Norway. For Music in My Heart, they gave Martin a hit with "It's a Blue World," which won an Oscar® nomination for Best Song (it lost to "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio). Martin's recording of the song stayed on the hit parade for 13 weeks, followed by a 14-week run for Glenn Miller's version. In 1952, it became a hit again in a recording by The Four Freshmen.
Hit status would be a little longer in coming for Hayworth. Although Music in My Heart did well at the box office, it would take a pair of loan-outs, to Warner Bros. for The Strawberry Blonde and to Fox for Blood and Sand (both 1941), to convince Columbia that they had a star on their hands.
Producer: Irving Starr
Director: Joseph Santley
Screenplay: James Edward Grant
Based on the story "Passport to Happiness" by Grant
Cinematography: John Stumar
Music: Morris Stoloff
Art Direction: Lionel Banks
Principal Cast: Tony Martin (Robert "Bob" Gregory), Rita Hayworth (Patricia "Patsy" O'Malley), Edith Fellows (Mary O'Malley), Alan Mowbray (Charles Spencer Gardner III), Eric Blore (Griggs, Gardner's Valet), George Tobias (Sascha Bolitov), Joseph Crehan (Mark G. Gilman), Andre Kostelanetz (Himself).
by Frank Miller
Music In My Heart - Music in My Heart
Music in My Heart on DVD
The plot, if you can call it that, finds actor/singer Martin about to be deported. On the way to his ship, his cab collides with another taxi, providing a cute way for Martin to meet Hayworth, on her way to the same boat to get married. They miss the boat, she takes him in for the night (of course!), and the next thing they know they're falling in love. Comic misunderstandings ensue right up to a climax worthy of the crackpot storylines typical of the era. The silliness, of course, is all just an excuse for some light and charming song-and-dance numbers. The enjoyable score includes "Punchinello," which Martin sings to a monkey, the Oscar®-nominated "It's a Blue World," and the title tune, "Music in My Heart," which makes for a charming ending.
Unsurprisingly, Hayworth commands the screen with her beauty and comic abilities. The actress was at this point just approaching the brink of true stardom. She had just done Only Angels Have Wings (1939), a Howard Hawks masterpiece in which she played the second leading lady under Jean Arthur, and in about a year she would appear in The Strawberry Blonde (1941), which she made on loan to Warner Bros and which was her first real success. That would be quickly followed by Blood and Sand (1941) and You'll Never Get Rich (1941), in which she finally had a chance to show off her dancing skills to superb effect opposite Fred Astaire. In Music In My Heart, Hayworth has just one little dance - a reprise of "Punchinello" - and though it's simple, it's also delightful.
Movie buffs will be surprised to see the name of James Edward Grant credited with original story and screenplay, for Grant is far better known for dozens of westerns and war movies, such as Flying Leathernecks (1951), Hondo (1953), The Alamo (1960), and Donovan's Reef (1963). In fact, he would become John Wayne's favorite writer. Music In My Heart was one of Grant's earliest projects, one on which the former newspaperman cut his teeth.
In the end, it's Martin's voice and Hayworth's overall presence which makes this a nice little winner, though Eric Blore, Alan Mowbray and George Tobias provide solid support as always. The song "Punchinello" is silly, but it's hard to watch it without smiling. Just like the movie itself.
The only drawback to this DVD is that there are zero extras. A commentary or interview with Tony Martin - who is very much still with us - would have been nice, especially given the DVD's list price. At least the transfer is good, and the soundtrack is clean.
For more information about Music in My Heart, visit Sony Pictures. To order Music in My Heart, go to TCM Shopping.
by Jeremy Arnold
Music in My Heart on DVD
The working title of this film was Passport to Happiness. Chet Forrest and Bob Wright's song "It's a Blue World" was nominated for an Academy Award.