Monday, September 25, 2023


This time around I wanted to take a look now at a more obscure film. I think 1934’s Here Is My Heart fits the bill. I have a confession to make though. I have never watched the 1934 film. This makes for an exciting viewing experience seeing a “new” Bing film after all these years, but then again to do this article I needed to take very copious notes. Here is My Heart is based on the play La Grande-duchesse et le garcon d’etage by Alfred Savior. Translated the title is The Grand Duchess and The Steward. This 1934 Paramount film starred Bing, Kitty Carlisle, and Roland Young. Filmed in Hollywood at the end of August, it was completed in early November. The New York premiere was on December 21, 1934 and afterwards, Bing entertained at a Christmas basket party hosted by Joe E. Brown at the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel. Dick Powell and Al Jolson also perform before the audience of 800. The event was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills and was designed to provide Yule cheer for the needy of Beverly Hills.

The slight plot is about a happy go lucky millionaire (played by Bing), who has planned a sort of a bucket list once he made a million dollars. A million dollars in 1934 was a like a billion today. One of his silly things he wanted to accomplish was to catch a fish in the middle of the ocean. Other bucket list items included saving a damsel in distress, and also finding a second rare dueling pistol so he could donate them both to a naval academy. (Bing had already obtained one of the dueling pistols). The other pistol was in Monte Carlo, and owned by a Princess Alexandra (played by Kitty Carlisle). The Princess though had lost all her money, but Bing did not know that. To get closer to her, he pretended to be waiter. Bing was instantly attracted to the Princess. Bing also befriended a prince in Princess Alexandra’s entourage by the name of Prince Nicholas (played by Roland Young). Prince Nicholas told Bing that the Princess will only sell the gun to royalty. In order to keep up his charade and find out more info on the Princess, Bing bought the hotel. He saw all of the bills owed to the hotel and realized that the Princess and her entourage are completely broke. Bing had fallen in love with the Princess, and he snuck money into Prince Nicholas’s pocket to help them out. Nicholas, found the money, and he realized Bing is rich. The Prince offers to help Bing win over the Princess. Meanwhile, Prince Nicholas was arrested by the police for illegally selling cars. To obtain his release, the Princess agreed to sell the pistol, but it was discovered that her pistol was a fake and only worth a few hundred dollars. In the end Bing sells his pistol to obtain Prince Nicholas’ release. Princess Alexandra was initially upset at all the lies Bing had fabricated, but Bing convinced her they he is sincere and loves her. They kiss as they declare their love for each other. Bing’s bucket list was no complete!

Here Is My Heart was originally developed as a vehicle for Gary Cooper and Elissa Landi, but Cooper changed his mind after deciding that a love story about a duchess and a waiter wasn't for him and turned down the role. Bing worked well in the film even with the flimsy plot. This was his second movie with Kitty Carlisle. He starred with her earlier in the year in She Loves Me Lot. Bing and Kitty worked well together, and in later years Kitty also talked fondly about her times working with Bing. Roland Young stole the movie away in my opinion as a kind of a comic foil for Bing. This was the only movie that Roland made with Bing, and Young would have greater fame playing Cosmo Topper in 1937’s comedy Topper. William Frawley also appeared in the movie in a smaller role as Bing’s agent. William Frawley would go on to appear with Bing in numerous additional films like: Double Or Nothing (1937) and Going My Way (1944). Frawley and Crosby got along well because they shared a love of horse racing.

The critics liked the film, with The New York Times saying, "...the new Bing Crosby film at the Paramount is a witty, lyrical and debonair farce, and a first-rate addition to the holiday bounties... Mr. Crosby, who has already shown that his talents include a gift for light comedy, emerges this time as a celebrated songbird who, having made his way in the world, decides to take his million dollars and satisfy all the frustrated ambitions which he had brooded over as a boy. “Here Is My Heart” is a bright and funny entertainment, deftly produced and happily performed."

Variety praised it as well: "A setup for the Crosby fans and an excellent example of musical comedy picture making.”Here Is My Heart" should have an easy time of it most anywhere. Crosby is in fine voice, the songs he was handed are honies, and the story serves nicely as something to hang the singing and the songs on... To change the pace the director has him singing while doing anything but hanging from a chandelier. One well planned departure has Crosby in a duet with his own voice playing on a phonograph."

Only three songs were featured in the film, which is a shame. Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin wrote “June In January” and “With Every Breath I Take” for the film. However for the third song, “Love Is Just Around The Corner” Leo Robin wrote the song with Lewis Gensler. I am not sure why Lewis Gensler was used for one song and not Ralph Rainger. Bing recorded all three songs for Decca, and all three were hits for him especially “June In January”.

 An interesting side note to the score of the movie, is I recently discovered a record of a song called “Here Is My Heart” on the Brunswick label featuring the Dorsey Brothers with Bob Crosby on vocal, recorded on November 17, 1934. The song was written by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin, and the record states “dedicated to the film Here Is My Heart”. It is a cute song, and it would have been nice to have more than three songs in the film. It looks like Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra also recorded it on the Victor label on November 2, 1934. I much prefer the Dorsey Brothers version of this forgotten song. (By the way, Bing made a record of another song called “Here Is My Heart” for Brunswick in 1933 with the Dorsey Brothers, but it was a different song completely).

The cast worked well in the film, and the music was top notch. The plot is probably the weakest part of this movie, but in 1934 movie audiences were not going to the movies to see Bing Crosby in a production of “War & Peace”. People wanted to escape from the stress of the Great Depression, and that is what Bing’s early Paramount movies provided. Here Is My Heart was practically a “lost” Bing film until it was finally issued on DVD as part of Universal Home Videos Silver Screen Collection in 2014. The movie is also available on Blu Ray now. Even though I think Here Is My Heart is not one of Bing’s better movies of the 1930s, I am glad I finally sat down and watched the film from beginning to end. Bing is charming in the film, and the music is amazing!


Friday, September 8, 2023


 Coming soon by Phil Crosby Jr (grandson of Bing)...