Release Date: September 24, 1952 | Production Date: August - October 1951 | Color: Technicolor Running Time: 97 minutes | Studio: Paramount Pictures
as "Blossom Seeley"
as "Benny Fields"
as "Sam Doyle"
as "Nola Beech"
as "Harry Lake"
Written by Irving Brecher
Suggested by the Careers of
Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields
Director of Photography
George Barnes, A.S.C.
Technicolor Color Consultant
Hal Pereira and Earl Hedrick
Special Photographic Effects
Gordon Jennings, A.S.C.
Sam Comer and Ross Dowd
Assistant to Producers
Sound Recording by
Hugo Grenzbach and John Cope
Joseph J. Lilley
New Songs by
Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Musical Numbers Staged by
William Perlberg and George Seaton
PUBLICITY IMAGES AND STILLS
POSTERS AND ADVERTISEMENTS
In 1906, in a San Francisco cabaret, young, enthusiastic performer Blossom Seeley (Betty Hutton) struggles to impress her drunken audience, and is advised by an older patron to sing more softly. Blossom instead belts out her next number, but is interrupted by the shaking of a powerful earthquake. During the rumbling, the old man gives Blossom his calling card, and she is stunned to discover he is famous theatrical producer "Pop" Grauman.
Later, after the city begins to recover, Blossom prepares for her appearance in one of Pop's vaudeville shows. Just before the opening, however, the show's haughty star, Nola Beech (Adele Jergens), demands she be given Blossom's best number. Blossom protests Nola's selfishness to no avail, but as Nola is singing the number, Blossom's friend, former stripper Essie (Billie Ford), coaxes the show's chimpanzee to eat a banana on the train of Nola's dress. The audience roars with laughter, and after Nola storms off, humiliated, Blossom takes her place. Performing with her characteristic liveliness, Blossom is a hit, and her career takes off.
After World War I, the now-wealthy Blossom tells her agent, Sam Doyle (Robert Keith), that she wants to incorporate other performers in her act so she can change costumes between numbers. Sam is reluctant to alter Blossom's successful act, but accompanies her to Hoboken, New Jersey, to hear the trio Forrest, Lake and Fields. Blossom is immediately attracted to the trio's young singer, Benny Fields (Ralph Meeker), and offers to hire the three for her new Broadway revue. Neil Forrest (Henry Slate) and Harry Lake (Sid Tomack) jump at the chance, but Benny, aware of Blossom's infatuation with him, acts nonchalant.
Blossom's revamped show is a hit, but Forrest and Lake infuriate the singer when they insist on performing their own encore. After Blossom upbraids them for overstepping their bounds, Forrest and Lake quit in protest. Benny then becomes Blossom's accompanist, using her affections for him to his own advantage. One night, after Benny tricks her into singing "Jealous" for her encore, Blossom finally explodes in frustration. Just as Blossom is about to fire him, however, Benny proposes marriage. Blossom accepts, and the husband-and-wife team play many concert dates. Eventually, Blossom's voice gives out, and she realizes she must stop singing and take a vacation.
While Blossom is recuperating at a resort, Benny overhears some men in his New York barbershop discussing gigolos. Recognizing himself in their comments, Benny bolts from the shop and announces to Sam that he is going to see Blossom. Blossom is delighted by Benny's unexpected visit, until he informs her that he is leaving her. Benny explains that while he did not love her when they married, he has since fallen in love and wants to prove himself as a man. Though heartbroken, Blossom accepts Benny's promise that he will return to her once he has made a name for himself. Benny's solo career does not take off, however, and Blossom, mourning his absence, quits her latest Broadway show.
One day, while Benny is appearing in a dreary San Francisco vaudeville house, playing a stooge, Sam, who is deeply concerned about Blossom's mental and financial state, visits and lectures him about being a good husband. Taking Sam's words to heart, Benny returns to Blossom and declares that he is quitting show business. Blossom convinces him to find a good style instead and offers to coach him, agreeing that she will not use her influence to get him a job once he is ready to perform. Blossom then shows Benny how to spice up his singing with some dance steps and a hat and cane. Despite Blossom's rigorous training, Benny searches fruitlessly for a job until an old friend of Blossom's hires him to sing in his Chicago club.
On opening night, Benny's joyous anticipation turns to anger when he learns that Blossom made an agreement with the club's owner to go on if Benny's act was a flop. Benny confronts Blossom and she confesses that she did indeed get him the job. Enraged, Benny vows to be a hit just to spite her, then puts on a dazzling show. When Sam tells Benny that Blossom had been planning all along to quit show business if Benny were a hit, however, Benny forgives her and invites her onstage for his encore. After Blossom announces she is retiring to become "Mrs. Benny Fields," she and Benny sing "Somebody Loves Me" and kiss.
As noted in the onscreen credits, "Somebody Loves Me" was suggested by the careers of Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields. In an August 1952 Los Angeles Times interview, Seeley and Fields, who served as technical advisors on the picture, claimed that the story was "99 3/4% accurate."
The real life Blossom Seeley made 36 rehearsal recordings of the songs featured in the movie so Betty should memorize the phrasing. Blossom then taught Betty all the gestures.
In addition to the RCA Victor album released featuring Betty's recordings from the film, Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields had an album of their own of the songs from the movie on Decca, with Benny doing a narration which sets the scene for each selection.
Paramount borrowed Ralph Meeker from M-G-M for the role of "Benny." Originally, Paramount tried to get Robert Alda, who was doing "Guys and Dolls" on Broadway, but producers wouldn't release him from the show long enough to make the picture. Modern sources state that Betty wanted either Tony Martin or Frank Sinatra for the role.
Choreographer Charles O'Curran, who also appears in the picture as a French soldier, became Betty's husband after production wrapped.
Henry Slate, who plays "Forrest" in the film, played a trick on Betty during the filming: "I turned up on the set one morning and was told Betty expected a brand new dance director to teach her some routines. I phoned a pal of mine on another set and told him what to do. A few minutes later this fellow walked up to Betty, introduced himself as Pierre Flanchard the French choreographer, and started to teach Betty some impossible steps and routines. That went on for about a half hour before Betty gave up in exasperation. Then 'Pierre' peeled off his fake mustache and baret and revealed himself as none less than Fred Astaire. It brought down the house."
On April 27, 1953, Betty appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of "Somebody Loves Me", co-starring Gene Barry.