» » You Were Meant for Me (1948)

Short summary

1920's bandleader Chuck Arnold meets hometown girl Peggy at one of the band's dances and next day weds her. Though she loves him, life on the road becomes increasingly difficult for her, but it is the 1929 Crash that makes things really tough for the both of them.

Accordong to Shiela Graham, Marilyn Monroe's role ended on the cutting room floor, but in a scene a face which looks like Monroe's is among those reacting on a crowded dance floor.

"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 13, 1949 with Dan Dailey reprising his film role.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Anayajurus
    Yes, I know it's been done before, but this great little tale of a struggling Thirties couple really has something special. Optimistic Dan Dailey keeps smiling through it all, Jeanne Crain lights up the screen, Oscar Levant is a wry delight, and see Percy Kilbride just before his "Pa Kettle" persona caught on. And that great title song.......! Highly recommended to all.
  • comment
    • Author: Golden Lama
    that really is Levant at piano "You Were Meant For Me" stars two second-tier stars, Jeanne Crain and Dan Daily and it's obvious that it's a lesser Twentieth Century-Fox production. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Provided you like old formulaic films, you'll have a nice time watching it.

    Dan Daily stars as a big band leader back in the late 1920s. A young fan (Crain) falls in love with him and they are soon married. Life for the couple consists of them begin on the road all the time, but it works since they are so much in love. But, when the stock market crashes in late 1929, bookings are canceled right and left and Daily and his band cannot find work. So, they move back home with her family. The problem is that Daily is used to being a big-shot and after a while this gets in the way of him finding work, as his sights are simply set too high. With his wife about to have a baby, she's simply had too much--too many dreams, too much talk and too much bragging. So, she explodes and he takes a walk. What's next? See the film.

    I noticed that one reviewer didn't like the ending. Well, perhaps it is a little too perfect, but I liked it. As for the rest of the film, it's pleasant fluff--undemanding but pleasant. Not a film you should rush to see but worth your time if you have nothing else to do.
  • comment
    • Author: Cargahibe
    The movie puzzles me. On the whole, it's a rather dour little musical, but not without its moments. However, I'm struck that the cast is not well served by the quality of the production. Given TCF's reputation for gloss, particularly in its musicals, this production almost looks like a neglected child. The b&w is undistinguished, the direction uninspired, the production numbers meager and the script erratic, particularly in the final few minutes. It's as if the producers wanted a quick, happy wrap regardless of what went before. Given Crain's rising star, State Fair (1945) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945), the studio's apparent disregard seems doubly puzzling.

    Nonetheless, Crain's charm shines through as she battles to keep her marriage together through both high times and low. Dailey too, is engaging as a bandleader who has trouble coping when the Depression suddenly dries up his gigs. Happily, there's some genuine chemistry in their pairing. To me, the high point comes when he and Crain break into an impromptu little dance in the drugstore. It's a charming little display of musical talent, helped along by the movie's generally tuneful selection of songs. Speaking of talent, Levant's gift for dourly humorous asides is ill served by director Bacon. Levant is primarily a personality, not an actor, so he needs a lot of coaching, which his uneasy performance apparently didn't get. Too bad, since he can be delightfully sour when more comfortable.

    All in all, the two stars shine through even though the production doesn't.
  • comment
    • Author: Gorisar
    It certainly wasn't my impression that this way a big budget picture, but even so, it took me a while to warm up to this film.

    First of all, there's not much of a compelling story here. Girl meets dance band leader, they fall in love and elope, the Depression comes along and the band disbands, Not the most dramatic story, but pleasing.

    I always loved Jeanne Crain, but although she's very pleasant here, this isn't her best role. And, I always liked Dan Dailey, but let's face it, his is not the greatest singing voice, and he sings a lot here. He does have a few nice dance numbers; he really was a nice dancer. Yes, he's pleasant enough, also.

    The most interesting casting here was of Percy Kilbride -- Pa Kettle -- in probably the most different role of his career -- nothing very comical about his role...pretty much a straight father role...and interesting because of the contrast to what he normally did. Selena Royle (reportedly once a flame of Spencer Tracy) plays the mother. Oscar Levant, who could be rather witty, is along for the ride...but not demonstrating much wit.

    The problem I have with the film is...did they suddenly run out of money? The depression is on, Dailey is working in a brick factory, and in the very next scene he is leading the band at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City. It's like a whole chapter is just skipped! And whatever happened to the baby? The film was doing okay until the ending.
  • comment
    • Author: Kefym
    "You Were Meant for Me" has all the elements of a very nice film. We have a dance band and Jeanne Craine falling for and marrying band leader Dan Dailey over night.

    All goes well until the stock market crashes in 1929 and the band is forced to disband.

    Dailey and Jeanne move back with her parents, Percy Kilbride, who, for a change is not funny here and the dependable Selena Royle who really never was known for comedic gifts. Their lack of it is showing here. Kilbride,in particular, wastes chances to enhance his part. Known for deadpan humor, it is missing here.

    Invariably, when Dailey refuses a job offer that he considers beneath him, the two argue and Dailey runs off to N.Y.

    It is at this point that the film goes awry. Dailey, at the bus depot, looks out at Bloomington, Indiana. He runs back to Craine where he finds long-time pal Oscar (Oscar Levant) at the house. Kilbride comes home from his job. By the next scene, Dailey is leading a band and Levant is working selling bricks at Kilbride's place.

    Craine and Dailey dance and the film ends. There was no proper segue leading up to this end.

    In addition, the few dance numbers are too stilted. Craine, tries but gives little pep to this film. Song and dance man Dailey is wasted here.
  • comment
    • Author: Tejora
    Dailey's alto sax solos were dubbed by Russ Cheever. Songs and musical numbers included: "Crazy Rhythm" (Irving Caesar, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Joseph Meyer), "You Were Meant for Me" (Arthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown), "Goodnight Sweetheart" (James Campbell, Reginald Connelly, Ray Noble), "If I Had You" (Campbell, Connelly, Ted Shapiro), "Ain't She Sweet" (Jack Yellen, Milton Ager), "Ain't Misbehavin" (Andy Razaf, Fats Waller), "I'll Get By" (Roy Turk, Fred Ahlert), "Concerto in F" (George Gershwin, played by Levant), "Sweet Georgia Brown" (Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, Kenneth Casey), "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry" (Walter Donaldson, Abe Lyman), the latter two done by Eddie Miller on the soundtrack.

    Copyright 16 January 1948 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. New York opening at the Roxy: 28 January 1948. U.S. release: February 1948. U.K. release: 23 August 1948. Australian release: 1 April 1948. 8,247 feet. 91 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Small-town girl, Jeanne Crain marries bandleader Dailey. Tiring of constant travel, Crain goes home. His bookings ruined by the onset of the Great Depression, Dailey joins her there, along with his cynical manager, Levant. Then Dailey decides to take off alone, determined to conquer the big city.

    COMMENT: Moderately entertaining, black-and-white musical, runs through some familiar songs in a pleasant manner and is agreeably acted. The script is an old one and the direction does little to give it sparkle. Production values are moderate. But fortunately I liked all the songs and Levant's piano-playing is in top form. It was also a pleasure to hear Gershwin's "Concerto in F".

    Dailey is his usual bumptious, go-getting self - he's not one of my favorites, by any means - but Jeanne Crain is both appealingly nice and suitably vulnerable, and there's a fair line-up of character players including Percy Kilbride and Selena Royle.
  • comment
    • Author: Tegore
    This 1948 film starts its action 20 years earlier in 1928 when the country was in the throes of the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age when it seemed like the national party would never end. You Were Meant For Me stars Dan Dailey as a Rudy Vallee like band-leader with Jeanne Crain as the small town girl whom he falls for and marries while on tour. One thing though, Vallee never had the dance moves that Dan Dailey had. I always marveled at how gracefully that big man moved.

    If this had been done over at Warner Brothers Jack Carson would have been cast in the lead. Dailey is quite the party animal when good times are plentiful. But the stock market crash comes even with bookings canceling all around him, Dailey feels the need to put up a big front. The man needs a reality trip and Crain is ready to give it to him.

    The score is taken from various standards of the Roaring Twenties and that's the best part of the film. Oscar Levant is in the cast as his usual witty and cynical self and we hear him do Gershwin's Concerto in F. Percy Kilbride and Selena Royle are Crain's small town, home town parents who give out some practical advice.

    If you like the music of the Twenties than You Were Meant For Me is meant for you.
  • comment
    • Author: Global Progression
    Small town girl Jeanne Crain finds her boyfriends have no oomph, so when she plants a kiss on visiting band-leader Dan Dailey's lips, she's surprised by the spark, and so is he. She's a raffle winner on a date, and wins more than just the grand prize. It's the 1920's, and jazz dance bands are the heroes of the youth set. So before you can get out the first line of "Crazy Rhythm" (I go my way, you go your way), the two are wed and living with Crain's stony mother (Selena Royle) and easy-going pop (Percy Kilbride, of all people!). But times change, the stock market crashes, and gigs dry up for Dailey. Along the way, it is the wife who remains the strength of the family, Dailey obviously a dreamer and too hard-headed to move along with the times. They manage to go off on their own for a brief period of success, but as Crain admits after everything falls apart, "We'll put Humpty Dumpty together again, and it won't be with ticker tape."

    Once again, nostalgia is the name of the game in this enjoyable 20th Century Fox musical, the type they'd been doing since they signed both Alice Faye and Shirley Temple to contracts, continuing along with Betty Grable, June Haver, Charlotte Greenwood, Don Ameche, John Payne and their other contract players. Dailey had made one successful appearance up to this point with Grable ("Mother Wore Tights"), and there is even a reference to a song from that film ("Kokomo, Indiana") and would go onto others (he received an Oscar Nomination for the same year's "When My Baby Smiles at Me") with Grable. Crain is basically a non-musical presence here, so her presence rather than Grable's makes more sense, and she makes the character extremely likable and understanding.

    Such standards as "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Ain't She Sweet?" are among the musical highlights, as is the romantic title song sung by Dailey to Crain as they dance after she wins the raffle. Barbara Lawrence, the perky blonde who co-starred with Crain in "Margie" (and would go on to parody herself in a Bette Davis film called "The Star"), is memorable as Crain's high school best friend. Dailey stands out in a scene where he tells off Crain's old friends who were supportive in the good old days but whom he believes have come to consider him a joke now that he's a has-been. The film goes through several generations of 20th Century American history, from the roaring 20's through the depression and finally to the hopes and dreams of the Roosevelt era of "a new deal". The themes of support and understanding through even the worst of times are still vital today, making this more than just a nostalgic entertainment.
  • Cast overview:
    Jeanne Crain Jeanne Crain - Peggy Mayhew
    Dan Dailey Dan Dailey - Chuck Arnold
    Oscar Levant Oscar Levant - Oscar Hoffman
    Barbara Lawrence Barbara Lawrence - Louise Crane
    Selena Royle Selena Royle - Mrs. Cora Mayhew
    Percy Kilbride Percy Kilbride - Mr. Andrew Mayhew
    Herbert Anderson Herbert Anderson - Eddie
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