|I'll Be Your Sweetheart|
|Directed by||Val Guest|
|Written by|| Val Valentine |
|Based on||original story by Valentine and Guest|
|Edited by||Alfred Roome|
|Music by||Louis Levy|
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors|
|30 July 1945|
I'll Be Your Sweetheart is a 1945 British historical musical film directed by Val Guest and starring Margaret Lockwood, Vic Oliver and Michael Rennie. It was the first and only musical film produced by Gainsborough Studios. Commissioned by the British Ministry of Information,it was set at the beginning of the 20th century, and was about the composers of popular music hall songs fighting for a new copyright law that will protect them from having their songs stolen. Copyright scholar Adrian Johns has called the film "propaganda" and "a one-dimensional account of the piracy crisis [about sheet music in the early 20th century] from the publishers' perspective", but also highlighted its value as historical document, with large parts of the dialogue "closely culled from the actual raids, court cases, and arguments of 1900-1905."
In 1900 Bob Fielding arrives in London from the north of England determined to make it as a song publisher. He visits a music hall where he hears Edie Story singing "Oh Mr Porter" by George Le Brunn.
Songwriters Kahn and Kelly sell their latest song, "I'll Be Your Sweetheart" to Jim Knight, who also wants to be a publisher. Knight doesn't give them an advance so they sell it to Jim. This causes a rivalry between Bob and Jim, which is increased when both men fall in love with Edie.
Bob leads a movement to smash the music pirates. He asks Edie to speak out against them but she refuses, reluctant to get involved with what she sees is a political issue. However when composer Le Brunn dies impoverished, Edie makes an on-stage appeal to her audience to fight piracy.
Eventually the copyright bill is passed with the help of MP T.P. O'Connor. Bob leads a group of song writers to smash the printing presses of the pirates, resulting in a large brawl where Bob and his allies are victorious.
Bob and Edie decide to get married. Bob and Jim bury the hatchet as the copyright bill is passed.
The film was based on the real life copyright battles of Abbott and Preston in the early 1900s. Val Guest, the writer-director, was familiar with these struggles having been a former songwriter.
Margaret Lockwood's singing voice was dubbed by Maudie Edwards. It was a rare musical from her.
Vic Oliver was billed above the title, just below Margaret Lockwood. However his role was fairly minor. It was the first major part for Michael Rennie who is given an "and introducing" credit in the film's opening credits.
According to Kinematograph Weekly the film performed well at the British box office in 1945.The 'biggest winners' at the box office in 1945 Britain were The Seventh Veil, with "runners up" being (in release order), Madonna of the Seven Moons, Old Acquaintance, Frenchman's Creek, Mrs Parkington, Arsenic and Old Lace, Meet Me in St Louis, A Song to Remember, Since You Went Away, Here Come the Waves, Tonight and Every Night, Hollywood Canteen, They Were Sisters, The Princess and the Pirate, The Adventures of Susan, National Velvet, Mrs Skefflington, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Nob Hill, Perfect Strangers, Valley of Decision, Conflict and Duffy's Tavern. British "runners up" were They Were Sisters, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Perfect Strangers, Madonna of the Seven Moons, Waterloo Road, Blithe Spirit, The Way to the Stars, I'll Be Your Sweetheart, Dead of Night, Waltz Time and Henry V. However Gainsborough Studios made no further musicals.
In the Radio Times, David Parkinson wrote, "Val Guest directs with brio, but the songs he's saddled with are decidedly second-rate";while in The Independent, Tom Vallance described the film as an "under-rated musical...a film that combined the pace and vitality of the best Fox musicals with a trenchant look at flourishing music piracy at the turn of the century."
The film was adapted for radio on the BBC in 1945.
Michael Rennie was a British film, television and stage actor, who had leading roles in a number of Hollywood films, including his portrayal of the space visitor Klaatu in the science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). In a career spanning more than 30 years, Rennie appeared in more than 50 films and in several American television series.
Margaret Mary Day Lockwood, CBE, was an English actress. One of Britain's most popular film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, her film appearances included The Lady Vanishes (1938), Night Train to Munich (1940), The Man in Grey (1943), and The Wicked Lady (1945). She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress for the 1955 film Cast a Dark Shadow. She also starred in the television series Justice (1971–74).
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Elizabeth Maud Edwards, professionally known as Maudie Edwards, was a Welsh actress, radio broadcaster, comedian, dancer and singer, best remembered for having spoken the first line of dialogue in soap opera Coronation Street, and playing Elsie Lappin in the first two episodes. She was previously best known to listeners of the radio programme Welsh Rarebit, which attracted weekly audiences of 10 million.
A Place of One's Own is a 1945 British film directed by Bernard Knowles. An atmospheric ghost story based on the 1940 novel of the same title by Osbert Sitwell, it stars James Mason, Barbara Mullen, Margaret Lockwood, Dennis Price and Dulcie Gray. Mason and Mullen are artificially aged to play the old couple. It was one of the cycle of Gainsborough Melodramas.
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Edward Black was a British film producer, best known for being head of production at Gainsborough Studios in the late 1930s and early 1940s, during which time he oversaw production of the Gainsborough melodramas. He also produced such classic films as The Lady Vanishes (1938). Black has been called "one of the unsung heroes of the British film industry." In 1946 Mason called Black "the one good production executive" that J. Arthur Rank had. Frank Launder called Black "a great showman and yet he had a great feeling for scripts and spent more time on them than anyone I have ever known. His experimental films used to come off as successful as his others."
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They Were Sisters is a 1945 British melodrama film directed by Arthur Crabtree for Gainsborough Pictures and starring James Mason and Phyllis Calvert. The film was produced by Harold Huth, with cinematography from Jack Cox and screenplay by Roland Pertwee. They Were Sisters is noted for its frank, unsparing depiction of marital abuse at a time when the subject was rarely discussed openly. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas.
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