Lady in the Dark (1944) B
Loosey adapted from Moss Hart’s Broadway hit musical, “Lady in the Dark” stars Ginger Rogers as Liza Elliott, the editor of a popular fashion magazine.
Despite her beauty, wealth, and success in business, Liza is unhappy, even tormented in her personal life. This despite the fact that no less than three men are vying for her affections — advertising director Charley Johnson (Ray Milland), newly single Kendall Nesbitt (Warner Baxter), and youthful and handsome Randy Curtis (Jon Hall).
You see, Liza has been unlucky in her love life before and she is overly cautious. She begins psychoanalysis with Dr. Brooks (Barry Sullivan) in hopes of resolving her emotional crises and finding happiness.
Liza’s self-searching explorations of the past take the form of a musical. While the stage version of Lady in the Dark featured songs written by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, several of them were replaced for this screen adaptation.
“The Saga of Jenny”, “One Life to Love”, and “Girl of the Moment” were the most notable among the Weill-Gershwin tunes that survived the transition from stage to screen.
The tone of the tale, which was adapted by the successful husband and wife team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, is also different: On Broadway, it was more ironic, sophisticated, and darkly humorous. It was a personal work for Moss Hart, who wrote the original musical after going through analysis himself.
The original Broadway cast is still considered to be legendary: Gertrude Lawrence played the lead, Macdonald Carey was cast in the Ray Milland part, Victor Mature (yes, him) was replaced by Jon Hall, and Mischa Auer took over from Danny Kaye.
Oscar Nominations: 3
Cinematography (color): Ray Rennahan
Interior Decoration (color): Hans Dreier and Raoul Pene du Bois, art direction; Ray Moyer, set decoration.
Scoring of a Musical: Robert Emmett Dolan
Oscar Awards: None
Though considered to be both artistically and commercially disappointing, “Wilson” was nominated for Best Picture and other awards, winning five, including Cinematography for Leon Shamroy and Interior Decoration.
The winners of the Scoring Oscar were Carmen Dragon and Morris Stoloff for the Rita Hayworth musical, “Cover Girl.”
Running time: 100 Minutes.
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Released: February 10, 1944.
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