Cast & Crew
On the night of the annual New York newspapermen's ball, singer Jane Froman is honored as "the most courageous entertainer of the year." As Jane sings, John Burn, who is sitting at her table, remembers her rise to fame: In the mid-1930s, Jane rushes into a Cincinnati radio station to audition for a job. The tardy Jane has missed the audition, however, and mistakes vaudevillian Don Ross for the station manager. Impressed by Jane's lovely voice, Don persuades the real manager to listen to her, and soon Jane is performing as the station's staff singer then undertakes a series of personal appearances. Don, who often appears at the same theaters, is not as successful, but helps to maintain the momentum of Jane's career. As time passes, Don acts exclusively as Jane's manager as she becomes a hit in New York nightclubs. Eventually, Jane is selected as radio's "number one girl singer," while Don realizes that his career in show business is over. In love with Jane, Don presses her to marry him, but although Jane is grateful for his help, she is not in love with him. Don finally wears Jane down, however, and the couple marry. During their honeymoon in California, Jane appears in a movie, then skyrockets to even greater fame through her records and nightclub engagements. Jealous of Jane's career and feeling unproductive, Don provokes quarrels with her, although she offers to quit entertaining and focus on their marriage. Don refuses to let Jane make such a sacrifice, however, and the couple struggle to improve their relationship. After the United States enters World War II, Jane applies to the USO to be sent overseas, and in February 1943, she is notified that she will be leaving for Europe the next day. During the long flight to London via Bermuda and Lisbon, Jane converses with her fellow passengers, including entertainer Jennifer March and handsome co-pilot John Burn. Just before the plane lands on the Tagus River in Lisbon, Jane and Jennifer inadvertently switch seats as they prepare to buckle in. The plane crashes into the river, and the seriously injured Jane is held afloat by John for forty-five minutes. In the hospital, Jane is told that in addition to her other injuries, her right leg has been almost severed below the knee. She also learns that John has suffered serious injuries, and that Jennifer died in the crash. The fifteen survivors of the wreck slowly recover, thanks to the dedication of nurses such as the Brooklyn-born Clancy. Jane still cannot walk, however, and is under constant threat of having her leg amputated. She maintains a cheerful attitude though, with the help of her deepening friendship with John. One day, John confesses to Jane that he has fallen in love with her, and although Jane is touched, she tells him that his feelings are caused only by their shared experiences. Don then arrives to escort Jane and Clancy back to New York, where Jane undergoes a grueling series of operations to save her leg. When John returns to New York, he continues to pursue Jane, and she admits to Clancy that she reciprocates his feelings. Clancy advises her to concentrate on her recovery, and so Jane, desperate for money to pay her medical bills, opens in a show staged by Don. Even though she must be carried on and off the stage, Jane is a success, and the applause touches her deeply. The show's run is cut short by the necessity for more surgery on Jane's leg, and the constant uncertainty depresses Jane, who complains to Clancy that she will never be a normal woman again. Motivated by her devotion to Jane, Clancy refuses to allow her to wallow in self-pity and lectures her about her many blessings. Later, Jane again sings at a nightclub, and one evening, both Don and John tell Jane that she must choose between them. Jane tells John that she must stay with her husband, although John knows that Jane is afraid to commit to him because she is still in danger of losing her leg. During the show, the audience is charmed when Jane sings to a shy, young paratrooper. Later, Jane tells Clancy that she is determined to "finish what she started" by going overseas to entertain the troops, even though she still has difficulty walking and is in great pain. Clancy accompanies Jane on a thirty-thousand mile tour through seven countries, during which Jane sings for many wounded soldiers. Jane's courage inspires the men, and on one visit, she again meets the paratrooper from the New York nightclub. The youth is suffering from shell shock, but Jane's gentle concern prompts him to talk for the first time in months. Meanwhile, back in New York, a drunken Don telephones John to tell him that he intends to move on with his life, and that he will not be there to welcome Jane when she returns home. At her farewell performance in Europe, Jane is presented with a cake by her loving fans, and she leads the soldiers in a song-filled tribute to their homes. Back in New York, at the banquet, John's reminiscences come to an end, and he watches with pride as Jane sings for the newspapermen.
Fred Datig Jr.
Rosa Marie Monteiro
Mario Pacheco Jr.
The Four Girl Friends
The Melody Men
Joe P. Oliviera
Katharine Lee Bates
Nacio Herb Brown
Father Christopher Kennedy
Arthur L. Kirbach
Dr. John Penido
Walter M. Scott
Samuel Augustus Ward
J. Watson Webb Jr.
Dr. Howard J. Weinberger
Joseph C. Wright
Darryl F. Zanuck
Best Costume Design
Best Supporting Actress
With A Song In My Heart
In 1952, Froman's inspirational saga became a 20th Century Fox biopic, With a Song in My Heart, that combined the gloss of a 1940s Fox musical with a strong dramatic story tailor-made for the talents of Fox's powerhouse star, Susan Hayward. The Brooklyn-born Hayward had built an impressive career since arriving in Hollywood in the late 1930s, one of the many hopefuls who auditioned for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939). In 1949, after working at several studios, she signed a contract with Fox. By the time she appeared in With a Song in My Heart, she had two Academy Award® nominations as Best Actress under her belt, for Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947), and My Foolish Heart (1949), and was fresh off a popular success in Fox's biblical epic, David and Bathsheba (1951).
Hayward plunged enthusiastically into the role of Froman. Proud of her thick, lush mane of red hair, she had it written into her contract that she didn't have to cut it for a film. But for With a Song in My Heart, she agreed to a shorter hairdo more like Froman's. Hayward was on hand when Froman pre-recorded the songs for the film, studying Froman's gestures as she sang; in return, the singer was often on the set during filming of the musical numbers, watching Hayward closely and coaching her as she expertly lip-synched the songs. Fortunately, Hayward's low speaking voice was an excellent match for the singer's contralto vocals.
Hayward's co-stars in With a Song in My Heart were David Wayne as Froman's first husband and manager, and Rory Calhoun as the co-pilot who saved her life. Although it's not explicit in the film, Froman eventually divorced her husband and married the pilot. But the actor who made the biggest impression was a young newcomer who appeared briefly in only two scenes. Robert Wagner had recently been signed to a Fox contract, and had played bit parts in a few films. In his first scene in With a Song in My Heart, he plays a shy young paratrooper whom Froman singles out to croon to during a nightclub performance. Later in the film, the same soldier, now shell-shocked, is moved to tears when she sings "I'll Walk Alone" to him. Wagner later recalled that Hayward asked director Walter Lang to shoot the scene from behind her. Then, with her focus on Wagner and her own emotional reaction evident to him, she coaxed a tear from the young actor. The critics noticed him, and Wagner's career was launched. "One Robert Wagner plays the scene with quiet force," one reviewer wrote.
The public loved With a Song in My Heart, making it one of the top ten grossing pictures of the year, and hundreds of critics voted it one of the year's top ten films in Film Daily's poll. But New York Times critic Bosley Crowther disagreed. "[It] is just about as grandiose and mawkish as Hollywood homage can be." However, Crowther admitted that "The Technicolor is dazzling and the production numbers are full of splash." Variety was kinder, calling it "a heartening drama."
Hayward won the third of her five Academy Award® nominations for With a Song in My Heart. She lost to Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba, but Hayward won a Golden Globe for her performance. With a Song in My Heart won an Oscar® for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, beating Singin' in the Rain. It also earned Thelma Ritter a Best Supporting Actress nod, as well as nominations for Color Costume Design and Sound.
Hayward finally got to sing in her own voice in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), the biography of alcoholic singer Lillian Roth, and earned another nomination. She finally won her Oscar® for I Want to Live! (1958), a true story about a woman convicted of murder who fights to avoid execution.
Director: Walter Lang
Producer: Lamar Trotti
Screenplay: Lamar Trotti
Cinematography: Leon Shamroy
Editor: J. Watson Webb, Jr.
Costume Design: Charles Le Maire
Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler, Joseph C. Wright
Musical Director: Alfred Newman
Principal Cast: Susan Hayward (Jane Froman), Rory Calhoun (John Burn), David Wayne (Don Ross), Thelma Ritter (Clancy), Robert Wagner (Paratrooper), Helen Westcott (Jennifer March), Una Merkel (Sister Marie), Richard Allan (Dancer), Max Showalter (Harry Guild), Lyle Talbot (Radio Director)
by Margarita Landazuri
With A Song In My Heart
'Hayward, Susan' 's singing was dubbed by Jane Froman.
The working titles of this film were The Jane Froman Story, The Froman Story, Stardust, I'll See You in My Dreams and You and the Night and the Music. After the film's opening credits, a written foreword states, "This is a true story-the story of a girl and the story of a voice. The girl is Jane Froman, the voice is her own." Throughout the film, intermittent narration by Rory Calhoun, David Wayne and Thelma Ritter is heard as their characters describe their experiences with "Jane." At the end of the film, Jane sings a medley of songs with the soldiers, including "Deep in the Heart of Texas," "Give My Regards to Broadway," "California, Here I Come," "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," "Chicago," "Maine Stein Song," "Back Home in Indiana," "Alabamy Bound" and "Dixie."
The film is based on the life of popular singer and actress Jane Froman (1907-1980), who was seriously injured in a plane crash in February 1943, while she was on her way to entertain Allied troops in Europe. After more than twenty-five operations, Froman regained use of her legs and continued her successful career. [In the picture, it is stated that Froman's right leg was the one almost severed, but in a March 1952 The American Weekly article written by Froman, she related that it was her left leg which she almost lost.] As depicted in the film, John Burn was a co-pilot on the ill-fated flight, and held Froman afloat for forty-five minutes until they were both rescued. Froman divorced her first husband, comedian Don Ross to marry Burn in 1948, but they, too, divorced eight years later. Reviews of With a Song in My Heart noted that, ironically, Burn survived another plane crash on April 11, 1952, the day the film opened in Los Angeles. [Although studio publicity reported that the character of "Clancy," played by Thelma Ritter, was fictitious, the character of the wounded paratrooper, played by Robert Wagner, was based on a real soldier, according to a November 1953 Saturday Evening Post column.]
An October 1950 New York Times article reported that M-G-M, Warner Bros., Wald-Krasna and Samuel Goldwyn were among the studios and producers bidding for the rights to Froman's story, but after meeting with producer Lamar Trotti, Froman decided to sell the rights to Twentieth Century-Fox. In mid-April 1951, Hollywood Reporter announced that Jeanne Crain had been set for the leading role, but according to a modern source, Froman preferred Susan Hayward, who resembled and sounded like her. Froman pre-recorded the songs for the picture herself, with Hayward lip-synching to the playback. According to June 1951 Hollywood Reporter news items, Dale Robertson was originally cast as "John Burn," but was replaced by Rory Calhoun after being cast in Lydia Bailey. Although Hollywood Reporter news items include the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Joyce MacKenzie, Mae Johnson, Warren Mace, Phil Sylvester, Geraldine Farnum, Merry Anders and Joan Caton. Other Hollywood Reporter news items noted that dance director Billy Daniel was originally set to be Hayward's dance partner during "The Right Kind" number, but after he fractured his foot during rehearsals, he was replaced by Richard Allan. Actor Max Showalter changed his name to Casey Adams after finishing production on the picture, and although a December 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the studio had paid $1,650 to change the film's opening credits to include his new name, he was listed as Showalter on the viewed print.
With a Song in My Heart, which received mostly glowing reviews, won an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and was nominated for a Best Musical/Comedy Golden Globe award. Ritter received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and Hayward received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy. On February 9, 1953, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a version of the story starring Hayward, Calhoun, Ritter and David Wayne, with Froman again singing the songs.