There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
The supporting role played by Marilyn in this tribute to the composer Irving Berlin was a compromise, to the convergence of various interests.
First, it compensated for her refusal to appear in "Pink Tights", a movie she had postponed despite the studio's insistence.
Then, it brought her back to Los Angeles, after she had lived 2 or 3 months in San Francisco with her new husband, Joe DiMaggio.
Finally, it gave Marilyn the kind
of concessions she dreamt to obtain : she was allowed to be
flanked by her own crew - her drama teacher Natasha Lytess,
singing teacher Hal
Schaefer, and dance teacher Jack Cole, she apparently prefered to Robert Alton, the choregrapher engaged by the producer Sol C. Siegel.
In addition, according to most biographers, a project had been promised to her which she liked much more, "The Seven Year Itch" (1955).
The first screenwriter, Lamar Lotti, died of a heart attack before having completed the screenplay. The duo made by Henry Ephron and his wife Phoebe took over, but from Henry's own confession : "I think that it was our hardest work. Because of the kind of story, all the scenes were clichés".
Marilyn's character, Vicky, hastily outlined and grafted on the original plot, inherited of some songs which had to be first sang by Ethel Merman.
The talents combination which resulted was weird, from every point of view : most critics considered that the association of Marilyn, his baby-faced lover, Donald O'Connor, and the shameless Ethel Merman really was lacking of credibility.
Marilyn's relationships with the director, Walter Lang, were particularly unpleasant. It's said that Lang didn't miss any opportunity to denigrate Marilyn; this one, as usual, was late, and however, as usual, she worked hard with her teachers to give the best of herself, very worried not to be equal to the singing and dance professionals with who she was shooting.
In this movie, Marilyn sings "A Man Chases a Girl" (with O'Connor), "After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It", the controversial title "Heat Wave", "Lazy" and of course , the title-song "There's No Business Like Show Business".However, Marilyn having signed an exclusive rigths conract with RCA shortly before, the voice heared on the original soundtrack is the one of a Broadway star, Dolores Gray; Marilynrecorded another version intended to being distributed by her record company.
The shooting started late, on May 29, 1954, because Marilyn didn't manage to get rid of the bronchitis she had contracted during her trip in Korea, and suffered from anemia and the side effects of the sedatives she took.
This production having got behind, the shooting of "The Seven Year Itch" had to be postponed, and Marilyn couldn't rest between the 2 shootings.
« After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It »off set ,;,,
with other actors
with multiple sclerosis victim Paul Therrien with his children, Gregory and Frances, and Dr J.J.Karpeles
with Donald O'Connor
Twentieth Century-Fox, Cinémascope and DeLuxe Color.
Runtime : 117 mn
Release date : December 16, 1954.
Director : Walter Lang.
Producter : Sol C. Siegel
Director of photography : Leon Shamroy
Film editing : Robert E. Simpson
Musique : Irving Berlin
Ethel Merman - Molly
Donald O'Connor - Tim Donahue
Marilyn Monroe - Vicky
Dan Dailey - Terry Donahue
Johnnie Ray - Steve Donahue
Mitzi Gaynor - Katy Donahue
Richard Eastham - Lew Harris
Hugh O'Brian - Charles Gibbs
Frank McHugh - Eddie Duggan
Rhys Williams - Father Dineen
Lee Patrick - Marge
Eve Miller - hat check girl
Robin Raymond - Lillian
Gavin Gordon - Geoffrey
George Chakiris - dancer
Robert Alton - choregrapher
Jack Cole - choregrapher (uncredited)
John DeCuir - art direction
Lyle R .Wheeler - art direction
Alfred Newman - conductor, music supervisor
Lionel Newman - conductor, music supervisor.
The 5 Donahue - the mother Molly (Ethel Merman), the father Terry (Dan Dailey) and their children Tim (Donald O'Connor), Katy (Mitzi Gaynor) and Steve (Johnny Ray) - formed a familiy company, which everyone of them is about to leave.
Young Steve is the first to leave, to follow his vocation and become a priest.
Tim mets Vicky (Marilyn Monroe), hat check girl in a night-club, and falls in love with her. They meet by chance in a hotel in Florida, where the 4 Donahue and Vicky have to perform.
Confusion reigns, because the Donahue and Vicky are planned to perform the same act - "Heat Wave".
In a scene, cut by the film editing, Molly (Ethel Merman) was singing "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better".
Initially preceding Marilyn's song 'Heat Wave", this song had a function in the screenplay, given that, during the main part of the movie, the characters fights to sing "Heat Wave", the showstopper.
Tim convinces his mother, Molly, to let the young woman sing this song, and Molly's aversion towards this young cheeky grows when Vicky persuades Tim and Katy to take part with her in a Broadway show. The Donahue are only 2 - the father and the mother - like at their early stages.
Katy falls in love
with songwriter Charley Gibbs (Hugh O'Brian), and Tim is
shell-shocked when he imagines (wrongly) that Vicky cheats on him
with Lew Harris (Richard Eastham), the entertainment
Jealous, feeling rejected, he's drowning in sorrow the opening night, misses the show and is injured in a car accident. However, Molly bravely continues the show.
Terry, Tim's father, fights with him at the hospital, then Tim disappears.
Terry is extremely affected by this episode, and doesn't want to sing at all. Molly Donahue remains very cold towards Vicky, although Katy tries to bring them together, during a show to the actors benefit. The 2 women become friends.
This is the moment when Steve chooses to appear backstage (now he is a military chaplain), and Tim, from now on in the Marine, does the same, allowing the 5 Donahue, joined by Vicky, to once again perform all together, and to sing the title-song, high point of their show.
To the Academy Awards
- Costum Design, Color : Charles LeMaire, William Travilla, Miles White.
- Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture : Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman.
- Writing, Motion Picture Story : Lamar Trotti.