|Here Comes the Groom|
|Directed by||Frank Capra|
|Produced by||Frank Capra|
|Edited by||Ellsworth Hoagland|
|Music by||Joseph J. Lilley (uncredited)|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$2,550,000 (US rentals)|
Here Comes the Groom is a 1951 musical romantic comedy film produced and directed by Frank Capra and starring Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. Based on a story by Robert Riskin and Liam O'Brien, the film is about a foreign correspondent who has five days to win back his former fiancée, or he'll lose the orphans he adopted. Filmed from late November 1950 to January 29, 1951, the film was released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on September 20, 1951.
Newspaper reporter Pete (Bing Crosby) works in a Paris orphanage. His charming way with children and music enables him to find homes for even the most troubled kids. One afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey (Alan Reed and Minna Gombell), an American couple, come to the orphanage to adopt Bobby, a boy they saw in one of the ads Pete ran in his newspaper. Bobby misbehaves, but when Pete discovers that Mr. Godfrey plays for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he quickly produces a young blind opera wunderkind, Theresa (Anna Maria Alberghetti), who sings her way into the Godfreys' hearts.
Later that night, Pete dreams that the fiancée he left behind in America, Emmadel (Jane Wyman) has visited. She appears in a hologram atop his record player, scolding him for leaving her at the altar and talks about the children they might have had. Filled with regret, Pete arranges to adopt both Bobby and his little sister Suzi and bring them to Boston, where he'll marry Emmadel. American authorities inform him that he must marry within five days or the adoption will be void.
After delays in obtaining the children's birth certificates, they and Pete finally fly to Boston, and go to Emmadel's house. While she bonds with Bobby and Suzi, Pete discovers that Emmadel is engaged to an aristocratic man, Wilbur Stanley, whose office she works in. She had gotten tired of waiting for Pete's arrival home. The kids stay with her loud parents (drunken father James Barton, a fisherman, and disapproving mother Connie Gilchrist). Pete tries everything to win Emmadel back. She helps him secure a lease on a new house via her fiancé's company. However, when Pete and the children arrive at the house in the rain, they discover that another couple (the McGonigles) also have a lease for the property. Emmadel's fiancé Wilbur shows up to settle the matter. Wilbur offers Pete a ride to another house - but Pete talks him into letting them stay at the Stanley family's gatehouse. They agree to a friendly competition for Emmadel's heart during the few days leading up to the wedding.
Pete and the children settle into the Stanleys' lavish gatehouse, where Emmadel's parents are also staying. Emmadel meets Wilbur's amiable elderly relatives, who present her with $500,000 as a wedding gift. Her parents embarrass her by running screaming through the garden. Emma discovers Pete's presence and visits the gatehouse to have it out with him. After she pulls Suzi's loose tooth, Pete pretends to be in love with Winnifred, Wilbur's fourth cousin twice-removed, and laughs when Emmadel pratfalls on her huge party dress.
Pete reveals his plan to Winnifred Stanley. He discovers that she has long been in love with her cousin Wilbur, but feels too socially awkward to pursue him. In a bit of Pygmalion, Pete teaches Winnifred to feel comfortable with herself. Winnifred's newfound confidence bubbles over at the wedding rehearsal. She and Emmadel erupt in a brawl on the front lawn. Winnifred concedes the fight, and Emmadel declares that she's proud to be a fisherman's daughter.
The wedding day arrives. News reporters line the outdoor chapel, proclaiming this the Cinderella story of the decade. As he escorts Emma down the aisle, Pa Jones tells her that Pete kidnapped the children and ran so they wouldn't be sent back to France. Emmadel begins to have second thoughts. Pete shows up at precisely the wrong moment, handcuffed to a policeman, with both crying kids in tow. Although Wilbur offers to marry Emma and adopt the children, Bobby and Suzi cling sobbing to Pete. On national television, Wilbur abandons his own wedding and forces a reluctant Emma and a protesting (but secretly thrilled) Pete to marry. Pete, Emmadel, Bobby, Suzi, Ma and Pa Jones all ride off for their honeymoon together.
Bing Crosby arranged for the world premiere of the film to be held in Elko, Nevada on July 30, 1951 and the charitable events associated with it raised $10,000 for the Hospital Building Fund. The New York premiere took place at the Astor Theater on September 20, 1951.
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times commented:
Again the calculated coincidence of Frank Capra and Bing Crosby combined to produce and direct a picture and star in it, respectively, has resulted in a light, breezy item, nicely marked with the genial Capra touch and adorned with the cheerful disposition and the casual vocalizing of Bing. There isn't a great deal of substance to the gentlemen's Here Comes the Groom, which they jointly turned over to Paramount for delivery to the Astor yesterday. As a matter of fact, a fair-sized zephyr or a few harsh words might blow it away, and it barely survives the burlesque antics that occur in it from time to time. But the idea of it is amusing and the writing is clever and glib. Mr. Capra and Mr. Crosby have both worked harder and done worse.
Variety reviewed the film at a tradeshow and said:
Paramount has a topnotch piece of comedy diversion in Here Comes the Groom. It is the sock picture both Bing Crosby and Frank Capra have needed and tops all of their more recent entries. The box-office response should be as hearty as its laughs, particularly after strong word-of-mouth potential gets going ... Crosby is at his casual best, nonchalantly tossing his quips for the most effect. Miss Wyman is a wow as the girlfriend who makes him really work to win her. The two join on the Hit Parade tune, "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael, in a socko song-and-dance session.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
Bing Crosby recorded four of the songs for Decca Records. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" was in the Billboard charts for six weeks with a peak position of #11. Crosby's songs were also included in the Bing's Hollywood series.
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