You and Me (1938 film)

You and Me is a 1938 American crime film noir directed by Fritz Lang and starring Sylvia Sidney and George Raft. They play a pair of criminals on parole and working in a department store full of similar cases; Harry Carey's character routinely hires ex-convicts to staff his store. The film was written by Norman Krasna and Virginia Van Upp.

You and Me
Directed byFritz Lang
Produced byFritz Lang
presented by
Adolph Zukor
Written byVirginia Van Upp
Based ona story by Norman Krasna
StarringSylvia Sidney
George Raft
Music byKurt Weill
CinematographyCharles Lang
Edited byPaul Weatherwax
Production
company
Fritz Lang Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 1, 1938 (1938-06-01) (New York City)
  • June 3, 1938 (1938-06-03) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Plot

Mr Morris runs a department store which specialises in hiring former inmates who want to assimilate into civilian life. Two of his employees, Joe and Helen, have fallen in love. Joe is planning on leaving for California.

They decide to get married.

Cast

Production

William Le Baron of Paramount asked Norman Krasna if he could come up with a vehicle for George Raft. Krasna agreed provided he was allowed to direct. Then Carole Lombard read the script and wanted to be involved; Krasna says Paramount did not want first-time director Krasna to be entrusted with a Lombard-Raft film and tried to force Krasna off the project.[1] In 1936 it was reported the film would be delayed because Raft did not want Krasna to direct.[2] There was some talk John Howard might replace Raft.[3] Arline Judge was going to star alongside Lombard.[4] Raft was put on suspension and $24,000 of his salary was withheld.[5] However the film did not go ahead.

Then several months later B.P. Schulberg, who was producing a number of films for Paramount, decided to re-activate the project. He replaced Lombard with Sylvia Sidney[6] and the male lead went to John Trent. Richard Wallace was meant to direct.[7]

Eventually Raft - who had made a film with Sidney, The Pick Up (1933) - did the film. By May 1937 Schulberg was no longer producer and the director was Fritz Lang who had just made Fury and You Only Live Once with Sidney.[8]

Lang used a musical score from Kurt Weill. He used it in an expressionistic style.[9] Lang says he was influenced by Bertolt Brecht, who had developed a style of theatre called Lehrstucke, theatre that teaches. "I wanted to make a didactic picture teaching the audience that crime doesn't pay," said Lang. "Which is a lie, because crime pays very well. The message was spelled out at the end by Sylvia Sidney on a blackboard to a classroom of crooks.[10]

Lang says Weill "had nothing to do just then." They worked together and Weill composed introductory music for certain scenes. Lang later said the scene where prisoners were nostalgic for prison was "stupid".[10]

Songs

  • "Song of the Cash Register"
  • "Knocking Song"
  • "The Right Guy for Me"
  • "Romance of a Lifetime"
  • "The Song of the Lie"
  • "We're the Kind of People Who Sing Lullabies"

Reception

Box office

The film was a box office flop.[11] "It was - I think deservedly - my first real flop," said Lang.[10]

Critical

Jonathan Rosenbaum calls the film "among Lang’s most unjustly neglected Hollywood pictures - not an unqualified success by any means but interesting, imaginative, and genuinely strange."[12]

Lang later called it a "lousy picture".[13]

References

    • McGilligan, Patrick, "Norman Krasna: The Woolworth's Touch", Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood's Golden Age, University of California Press,1986 p219-220
  1. NEWS OF THE SCREEN. (1936, Sep 03). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/101680687
  2. NEWS OF THE SCREEN. (1936, Sep 04). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/101793136
  3. Schallert, E. (1936, Sep 09). GLADYS GEORGE AWARDED LEAD IN "A MAN AND A WOMAN". Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/164713934
  4. Special to The New York Times. (1936, Nov 20). News from hollywood. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/101687622
  5. Graham, S. (1937, Jan 07). SCHULBERG CASTS SYLVIA SIDNEY IN KRASNA FEATURE. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/164680669
  6. NEWS OF THE SCREEN. (1937, Jan 09). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/102070888
  7. Schallert, E. (1937, May 14). ORIGINAL FUNSTERS SOUGHT FORI "PIGSKIN PARADE" SEQUELS. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/164728490
  8. Scheuer, P. K. (1938, Mar 20). FILM INFORMATION NEWS OF STAGE AND SCREEN NEW OFFERINGS. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/164801160
  9. Lang, Fritz (2003). Fritz Lang: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 105. ISBN 9781578065776.
  10. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 77
  11. "You and Me". Jonathan Rosenbaum. February 1999.
  12. Lang (2003). Fritz Lang: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 140. ISBN 9781578065776.
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