The only musical (that I know of) from Gordon Douglas, better known for non-musical Sinatra movies (Tony Rome, The Detective etc), Cagney vehicles (Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, Come Fill the Cup) and They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
A remake of Four Daughters (1938), it has echoes of Little Women (including naming characters Laurie and Amy) in showing three (not four) daughters of a music professor contemplating marriage, including Doris Day (and, in a smaller role, Dorothy Malone!). Doris Day’s reaction shots (love, pain) are fantastic.
Sinatra, coming off From Here To Eternity, doesn’t appear for 33 minutes, completely changes the tone of the movie, and is relentlessly disenchanted. When he plays something good on the piano, he says: ‘Something of my own… it stinks.’ He really should die at the end, but doesn’t just because Sinatra was fed up dying in all his pics and had it changed.
A ‘realistic’ musical in which people sing songs when they naturally would do. Sinatra sings Someone To Watch Over Me, Just One Of Those Things and One For My Baby at the piano in a bar. He’s just great.
One of the few downbeat American musicals. And Terence Davies’s favourite movie…