Jimmy and Sally
Jimmy and Sally is a 1933 American comedy-drama film directed by James Tinling and written by Paul Schofield and Marguerite Roberts with additional dialogue by William Conselman. Starring James Dunn, Claire Trevor, Harvey Stephens, Lya Lys, and Jed Prouty, the story concerns a self-centered publicist who relies on his secretary's creativity but takes her affection for him for granted. After a series of publicity blunders and being fired several times, he humbly acknowledges that he is the one responsible for letting their relationship collapse. Though she has accepted a marriage proposal from another publicist in his absence, the girl still loves him, and ultimately chooses him.
|Jimmy and Sally|
|Directed by||James Tinling|
|Screenplay by||Paul Schofield|
William Conselman (dialogue)
|Music by||Arthur Lange|
|Cinematography||Joseph A. Valentine|
|Edited by||Ralph Dixon|
|Distributed by||Fox Film Corporation|
Jimmy O'Connor (James Dunn) works as a publicist for the Marlowe Meat Packing Company. He relies heavily on the creativity of his secretary, Sally Johnson (Claire Trevor), to come up with good slogans. Sally lives across the hall of the same apartment house as Jimmy and she likes him, although he is rather self-absorbed. When Sally develops the slogan "Eat Meat and Rule the World", Jimmy presents it to Mr. Marlowe (Jed Prouty) as his own. Marlowe allows Jimmy to go ahead and set up a publicity stunt involving a circus act in the Marlowe department store window. The stunt flops when the elephant goes berserk after being spooked by a mouse. Marlowe fires Jimmy, but re-hires him the following day as the publicist for his mistress, Pola Wenski (Lya Lys), a cabaret singer, since Jimmy has found out about their relationship. When Jimmy takes Pola, with whom he is slightly infatuated, back to her house to celebrate, he passes out on her couch.
Sally is infuriated when she meets up with Jimmy in the morning. But Jimmy is more interested in her hearing the story he has come up for the singer, that she has fallen in love with an unnamed gangster who is unaware of her affections. The story brings hordes of gangsters to Pola's club and Pola falls for Slug Morgan (Joe Sawyer). Morgan's cronies proceed to eject Jimmy and Marlowe from the club and Marlowe fires Jimmy for the second time. Jimmy decides to open his own publicist agency, and Marlowe hires Sally to fill Jimmy's position. She is much more successful than Jimmy ever was, and when she visits Jimmy in his office and sees him struggling, she offers him an account, but Jimmy is too proud to accept. Sally chides Jimmy for his ingratitude and self-absorption, and dumps him for good.
Jimmy moves to the West Coast and begins working for another meat packing company. Meanwhile, another Marlowe publicist, Ralph Andrews (Harvey Stephens), asks Sally to marry him and she accepts, even though she is still fond of Jimmy. One of Jimmy's coworkers encourages him to return to the East Coast and try to win Sally back. Jimmy returns to Marlowe and asks him for a job, whereupon Marlow tells him to see the head of the publicity department—Sally. Humbled, Jimmy admits to Sally how wrongly he behaved and promises to regain her respect. He sees she is wearing an engagement ring, but Sally tells him not to give up so easily. Then he asks her to marry him, and she accepts. They embrace as Sally's supposed fiancé Ralph enters the office and sees them.
The film was based on the unpublished story "Tough Guy" by Mauri Grashin and James Seymour. According to the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, the script by Paul Schofield and Marguerite Roberts was enhanced by dialogue from William Conselman and additional writing from Charlotte Miller. Songs in the film—"It's the Irish in Me", "You're My Thrill", and "Eat Marlowe's Meats"—were composed by Jay Gorney with lyrics by Sidney Clare. Dunn's rendition of "It's the Irish in Me" marks the first time he sings on screen.
Capitalizing on the success of Bad Girl (1931), in which James Dunn and Sally Eilers made their film debuts, Fox Film sought to team the duo in more projects. Dunn and Eilers went on to star in Over the Hill (1931), Dance Team (1932), Sailor's Luck (1933), and Hold Me Tight (1933). Jimmy and Sally was written and titled especially for the popular duo. But when Eilers bowed out of the project, Fox gave her part to Claire Trevor. This was Trevor's feature film debut. The chemistry between Dunn and Trevor proved so successful that Fox paired them again in two 1934 films—Hold That Girl and Baby Take a Bow.
According to a news report, director Tinling kept Dunn happy during the filming by leaving a piano at the back of the set, where Dunn practiced playing and singing between takes.
A contemporary review cited by Trevor biographer Derek Sculthorpe called the film "[a] highly diverting piece of nonsense with no pretensions to be anything else", but noted that the presence of Dunn and Trevor "was sufficient to ensure the success of any film, for both these young people have an irresistible sense of fun and delightful stage personalities". Another review, hinting at the film's release at the height of the Great Depression, called it "Guaranteed to drive away the 1933 blues". The Indianapolis Star described it as "another of those luxurious romances of youth which have been a favorite product of Hollywood for many years", concluding, "As a comedy, 'Jimmy and Sally' is easy to take. … The bill is the type many will like". The Montreal Gazette called it "an amusing little programme picture", adding: "There is some excellent comedy in this film along the lines of satire on the publicity man whose great schemes always overreach the mark but provide plenty of excitement in so doing". The Courier-Journal wrote: "'Jimmy and Sally' is a story of a youth's battle to find himself and is not, in its premise, unlike many a story of youth. It is filled with situations to thwart the cock-sure young man and some of these incidents are amusing".
The Sydney Morning Herald, however, tagged the film for a lack of novelty, with the humorous scenes depicting Jimmy's schemes going wrong as the bright spots in "a mass of otherwise dull material".
Numerous reviews complimented Trevor on her feature film debut. The Courier-Journal called her "a pretty girl who has a very attractive voice". Dunn's persona, however, was seen as less appealing than the happy-go-lucky style that had made him a fan favorite in his previous films. The New York Daily News, which gave the film 2 stars, wrote: "Jimmy isn't such a bright ray of sunshine as he has been in other pictures, as he is made to think so much of himself and his ability to get on that he saddens his sweetheart and maddens his friends".
Sculthorpe commended William Conselman's "wise-cracking dialogue" for improving the quality of the script. Conselman, a former newspaperman, polished his ear for colloquialisms by eavesdropping on people's conversations at prizefights and dances.
- "Jimmy and Sally (1933)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- R.G.T. (December 10, 1933). "The Romance of 'Jimmy and Sally'". The Indianapolis Star. p. 56 – via Newspapers.com.
- "On Making the Movie Stars". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 29, 1933. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hold Me Tight (1933)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- Adams, Marjory (October 2, 1933). "Movie Facts and Fancies". The Boston Globe. p. 15 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sculthorpe 2018, p. 16.
- Matheson 2019, p. 343.
- Sculthorpe 2018, p. 17.
- "Baby Take a Bow (1934)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- "At Local Theatres". The Times. January 4, 1934. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Barrymore Scores in 'Carolina' Film". Montreal Gazette. February 26, 1934. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Strand: "Jimmy and Sally"". The Courier-Journal. December 9, 1933. p. 17 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Film Reviews: "Jimmy and Sally"". The Sydney Morning Herald. January 19, 1934. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
- Cameron, Kate (December 16, 1933). "Lillian Gish Comes Back At Last to Co-star in Films". New York Daily News. p. 273 – via Newspapers.com.