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Love Me or Leave Me

1955

NR CC

Brilliant performances by Doris Day and James Cagney highlight this story of jazz singing sensation Ruth Etting and the vicious Chicago hood who controlled her life.

Starring:
Doris Day, James Cagney
Runtime:
2 hours, 1 minute

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Music
Director Charles Vidor
Starring Doris Day, James Cagney
Supporting actors Cameron Mitchell, Robert Keith, Tom Tully, Harry Bellaver, Richard Gaines, Peter Leeds, Claude Stroud, Audrey Young, John Harding, Dorothy Abbott, Jay Adler, John Alban, Mal Alberts, Don Anderson, Geneviève Aumont, Veda Ann Borg, Paul Bradley, Chet Brandenburg
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
In 1955, after seven years as a major star at Warner Brothers and a string of successful films, Doris Day began to free lance. The first project she chose was a lavish musical biography at MGM entitled, "Love Me or Leave Me". It was the story of 20's and 30's chaunteuse, Ruth Etting and her relationship with Marty "The Gimp" Snyder. It opened that summer to critical and box-office kudos.
The well-fashioned script pulls no punches in it's depiction of the sometimes seamy and tawdry lives of it's principal characters. Etting and Snyder often used one another for their own personal gain and, for a change, the film doe not gloss over some of the less than savory aspects of their lives. The result is one of the best musical dramas ever committed to film.
The rise of Etting, from dance hall girl to Ziegfeld star was told amidst the settings of Chicago and New York. She meets Snyder, who wants to use her and utilizes his obsession with her in order to attain her goal - stardom. Their relationship is one that is filled with violence, jealousy, and rage, and the realism with which this is presented is unsettling. Those who like their musicals served up with a sugar coating should steer clear of this memorable classic.
Doris Day gives a tour de force performance as Etting. It's a Doris Day that we've never seen before and the heartbreaking reality that she brings to ever scene is unforgettable. Vocally, she sings with passion and style, dazzling with such song classics as "Shakin the Blues Away", "Ten Cents a Dance" and "You Made Me Love You", and the Oscar nominated, "I'll Never Stop Loving You". However, it is her rendition of "It All Depends on You", accompanied by only a piano, in which she creates a lasting image.
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Format: VHS Tape
Doris Day is stunning in this biopic of jazz singer Ruth Etting, who was known as "America's sweetheart of song". After watching this film, I read some biographical material, and it would seem the film is very true to her life.
Ms. Day sings up a storm (the musical numbers are terrific), and gives a performance with a lot of depth, playing a complex personality caught in a hellbound relationship.
Cagney, as her thug boyfriend/manager, is magnificent. Every gesture and facial expression is a riveting work of art. He was an extraordinary, multi-faceted actor, and this is a performance not to miss.
Cameron Mitchell is also excellent as the pianist who loves her, but is shut out of her life.
Well written, directed and edited, it's a powerful story of control, obsession, and abuse. A downward spiral that's hard to break...when someone tells her "You're making a big mistake", she says: "I've made so many, one more won't make a difference".
This is a fabulous film. It has drama, strong characters, great acting, and marvelous music !
Doris Day was a songbird, and a mighty fine actress too.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
There are many wonderful Hollywood musicals that take up the story line of a composer or a singer, like LADY SINGS THE BLUES, NIGHT AND DAY, WORDS AND MUSIC, DEEP IN MY HEART, THE AL JOLSON STORY, and RHAPSODY IN BLUE. But the one movie that stands out from all the rest is LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME. It is the absolutely perfect blending of story and song. The one that comes closest to it is the AL JOLSON STORY, but the "story" in that one isn't as related to the plot as this Doris Day-James Cagney production. Here, the songs Ruth Etting sang in the era of the Great Depression somehow help tell the story of her life; maybe her most popular songs were the ones that she felt closest to. Well, this movie certainly brings out the relationship between song and story in a way that has never been equalled in a biographical movie. Of course, "biography" puts a limitation on musical films; there is no room for the totally free-wheeling creativity of films like SINGING IN THE RAIN or THE BANDWAGON. But it also imposes a kind of unity that grows out of the life story of the singer or composer who is the subject of the biography. And as we empathize with the story, we like the songs even more. I've often wondered why LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME is not given the acclaim it so richly deserves. Maybe some viewers are so taken with the charisma of James Cagney (the greatest all-around star Hollywood has ever produced!) that they are distracted. Maybe some viewers "get into" the story so much that they don't see all that's going on with the music. The cure for all this, of course, is to watch this great film over and over again, and then repeat the experience. It truly gets better every time! And, one final kudo to Doris Day, that remarkable, remarkable woman.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the most talented performers to come out of the big band era a wonderful singer, and pretty good dramatic actress,

Doris Day's performance as torch singer Ruth Etting is first class, ably assisted by such hugely talented people as "mean man" James Cagney - who for the only time in his career since his rise as a leading man in the 30's, agreed for Miss Day to have top billing, reasoning that her charcter was more central to the film than his, the psycho Marty "the Gimp" Snyder.

Joe Pasternak was Producer, and King Vidor directed.

Add to this the music of Sammy Cahn & the master Irving Berlin, beautiful songs which Miss Day really puts her heart and soul into, and you have the recipe for the great success of Love Me Or Leave Me in 1955 through to today.

The songs all stand up today (as you would expect) Ten Cents A Dance, Shakin' the Blues Away, I'll Never Stop Loving You,It All Depends On You,You Made Me Love You etc.

I've always thought this was Doris Day's best work, great songs,

and a well written dramatic role she could really get her teeth into. Roles as good as this don't come along too often, I know, but what a great pity she went down the path of poorly written, silly comedies,(like that other iconic,musical great, Elvis Presley)coming up for air rarely with an occasional good film.

Cagney requested her for this film - they had worked together once before in 1950's West Point Story - and he loved working with her.

As a footnote, both Miss Etting and Mr Snyder were given script approval before Love Me Or Leave Me went into production, and despite the rather unflattering picture painted of them in the film, neither objected - a sure sign of authenticity.
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