|The Man I Love
by Maritta Wolff
The Man I Love is a 1947 American film noir melodrama starring Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, Andrea King, and Bruce Bennett. Directed by Raoul Walsh, the film is based on the novel Night Shift by Maritta M. Wolff . The title is taken from the George and Ira Gershwin song "The Man I Love", which is prominently featured.
Homesick for her family in Los Angeles, lounge singer Petey Brown (Ida Lupino) decides to leave New York City to spend some time visiting her two sisters and brother on the West Coast. Shortly she lands a job at the Long Beach nightclub of small-time-hood Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda) where her sister Sally (Andrea King) is employed.
While evading the sleazy Toresca's heavy-handed passes, Petey falls in love with down-and-out ex-jazz pianist, legendary San Thomas (Bruce Bennett), who has never recovered from an old divorce. Variously helping to smooth over or solve the problems of her sisters, brother and their next-door neighbor, the no-nonsense Petey must wait as San decides whether to start a new life with her or sign back on with a merchant steamer.
Warner Bros. purchased the rights to Maritta Wolff's novel Night Shift in 1942 for $25,000, with the original intention of casting Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart in the film adaptation. Working titles for the film were Night Shift and Why Was I Born?, the latter a 1929 song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II which featured in the movie. Production fell behind schedule because Lupino was suffering from exhaustion – she fainted during one scene with Robert Alda and had to be cut out of her tight-fitting dress – finishing 19 days late and $100,000 over budget.
In a contemporary review in The New York Times Bosley Crowther characterized the film's mood as "both silly and depressing, not to mention dull". Film critic Leonard Maltin gave it 3 stars out of 4.[when?]
The Man I Love later became Martin Scorsese's primary inspiration for his film New York, New York (1977).