Song of the Open Road
Song of the Open Road is a 1944 musical comedy film directed by S. Sylvan Simon, from a screenplay by Irving Phillips and Edward Verdier. It was the debut film of teenage singer Jane Powell. Powell's real name was Suzanne Burce, but prior to the release of this film MGM assigned her the stage name "Jane Powell" (the name of the character she portrays in this film).
|Song of the Open Road|
|Directed by||S. Sylvan Simon|
|Produced by||Charles R. Rogers|
|Written by||Irving Phillips (Story)|
Edward Verdier (Story)
|Music by||Charles Previn|
|Cinematography||John W. Boyle|
|Edited by||Truman K. Wood|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Child film star Jane Powell, tired of her life being run by her stage mother, runs away from home and tries to lead a "normal" life at a Crops Corps camp. When a crop needs picking, Powell enlists the help of some celebrity friends.
This was W. C. Fields's next-to-last film; his last (Sensations of 1945) would be released only 9 days after this film was issued. In the film, Fields — who began his career as an accomplished juggler — plays himself and juggles some oranges for a few moments. He remarks "This used to be my racket". Then, missing a catch, he drops the oranges and walks away muttering "used to be my racket, but it isn't anymore!"
- Jane Powell as Jane Powell
- Bonita Granville as Bonnie
- Peggy O'Neill as Peggy
- Jackie Moran as Jack Moran
- Bill Christy as Bill
- Reginald Denny as Director Curtis
- Regis Toomey as Connors
- Rose Hobart as Mrs. Powell
- Sig Arno as Spolo
- Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy
- W. C. Fields as Himself
- Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra
- Frank, Harry and Steve Condos as Condos Brothers (Dance Specialty)
- The Lipham Four as The Lipham Four
- Irene Tedrow as Miss Casper
Director S. Sylvan Simon had terrible difficulty filming scenes with W. C. Fields due to Fields' alcoholism. After lunch hour he was often nowhere to be found. This problem was solved by luring Fields into his truck early in the day and removing the ladder. Fields would often rant and complain before eventually falling asleep.
Although Fields often made fun of singers and singing in general, he had a fondness for the promising young singer Jane Powell and even referred to her (as "little Janie Powell") on one of his CBS radio broadcasts (preserved on transcription discs). Powell sang several songs in the film and made such an impression that MGM signed her to a contract to make a number of musical comedies for them, through the mid-1950s. Powell's real name was Suzanne Burce, but prior to the release of this film, MGM assigned her the stage name "Jane Powell", the name of the character she portrays in this film.
|1945||Nominated||Academy Award||Best Music, Original Song ("Too Much in Love")||Walter Kent (Music) & Kim Gannon (Lyrics)|
|1945||Nominated||Academy Award||Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture||Charles Previn|
|1945||Nominated||Academy Award||Best Art Direction, Black and White||N/A (nomination withdrawn)|
- Reel Memories: Jane Powell, Turner Classic Movies, 1995. Included on the DVD Classic Musicals Double Feature: Nancy Goes to Rio/Two Weeks with Love (Warner Home Video, 2008)
- Moskowitz, Daniel B., "The Crops Corps: How Agriculture Helped Win the War", HistoryNet, February 20, 2017. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- Song of the Open Road at the American Film Institute Catalog