"Warners had found a genuine new discovery"
This beautiful film, if made today, would be hailed as a triumph, a tour de force, proof that Warner Brothers' new star, Doris Day, was no fluke, but a genuine discovery by the studio, which had for years searched for a musical-comedy star who was on par with the giants at MGM. This film proved that they had found in this former big band singer, a unique talent who could almost single-handedly save a dying art form, the movie musical. Her voice was golden. She had a way with a song that no singer in films could match. Day had perfect-of-a-type good looks and a winning personality that was embraced by the film-going public, worldwide. Her natural acting ability astounded many critics who felt after her first film, that she might be a one shot, one picture phenomenon.
After "My Dream is Yours", there was no doubt that a star had truly been born. Audiences fell in love with the honesty, the warmth and the "regular gal" quality she brought to the screen. There had been others before her, like Ginger Rogers, Betty Hutton, Judy Garland and Jean Arthur, but Miss Day was not like any of them. Luckily, she had her own qualities, which resonated extraordinarily well with the public. The ridiculous "virgin" routine described by Oscar Levant should have been dispelled with this, Doris Day's second film. As Martha Gibson, she had been married and was the mother of a small child. It mirrored her real life, in that Miss Day had been married twice and was the mother of a young boy, whom she gave birth to at 17 years old.
"My Dream is Yours" centres around the booming radio business in the late '40s, with Doug Blake (Jack Carson), a talent scout and agent, about to loose his prize singer, Gary Mitchell (Lee Bowman) to another station. Blake has fought for years to make Mitchell a star and now that he's arrived, Gary is ungrateful, spoiled and drinking heavily. After an all-out dispute nearly ends in a brawl, Doug vows to wash his hands of Gary and to find a new singing star to replace him. Blake, after borrowing money from his firm's assistant director, Eve Arden, heads for New York scouting for a fresh new singer.
Arriving in Gotham, Doug club hops all over town, with no luck until he enters Dave's Green Door where Edgar Kennedy (Uncle Charlie), the bartender, is trying to help his niece, Martha (Doris Day), break into radio. She works as a disc jockey at the Metropolis Music Company, which feeds records to selected bars (an old '40s thing). After getting the signal that a talent scout is in the house, she proceeds to sing along with an instrumental version of "Canadian Capers" prompting Doug to ask, "Who is she? Who made the record?" After getting her fired by a prissy manager (Franklin Pangborn), Doug takes Martha to Hollywood. She doesn't want to leave her small son behind, but is convinced by her uncle that for career reasons, she must.
Vivian Martin (Eve Arden) has arranged for Martha to audition for the Hour of Enchantment, the radio show which stars romantic crooner, Gary Mitchell. Felix Hofer (S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall), the show's sponsor wants Mitchell to stay, no matter what, and is not interested in a new singer. Martha instantly falls for Mitchell, for she's as much a fan as any other star struck woman in America. Hofer listens, but doesn't like Martha who sings a bouncy, "Tick, Tick, Tick". "I want beauty and charm, you give me boogie and woogie!" Hofer scowls.
Gary starts dating Martha, much to the consternation of Blake who feels that Mitchell's influence might hinder what he's trying to accomplish. He moves Martha in with Vivian to save money and embarks on a concerted effort to make Martha Gibson a star. There are tremendous difficulties, mostly stemming from lack of funds and uncertainty of how exactly to sell Gibson to potential producers. Blake and Martha pound the pavement, auditioning for anyone who will listen. Martha, without Doug's knowledge, takes a job in a clip joint called the Club Bambita - run by a sleazy, sex-crazed rogue, played by Sheldon Leonard. Gibson sings "Love Finds A Way" in a grass skirt and is attacked by a jealous woman whose husband flirts with her.
Knowing how depressed Martha is getting from constant rejection, Doug secretly flies in her son, Freddy, and surprises her. One evening while Martha sings her son to sleep, Doug overhears her singing the lovely ballad, "I'll String Along with You" and bingo! He decides that he has been selling his singer the wrong way! Why he didn't get it earlier is beyond this viewer. Doug quickly schemes to get Hofer to give another listen to Martha Gibson. He arranges for her to appear on the radio and implores Hofer to listen, to no avail. Meanwhile, Gary Mitchell is riding high. In an effort to cause problems between Martha and Doug, he invites Martha to a party, sans Doug. Blake crashes the party and an altercation ensues.
On his last night to perform on the Hour of Enchantment, Gary hits the bottle and is unable to appear. Doug badgers Mr. Hofer to allow Martha to go on in his place. Holfer balks, but in exasperation, tells Doug, "put on who you please, just leave me alone!" Martha, now desperately in love with Gary refuses to go on. Making her feel guilty for putting Mitchell before her son, her uncle, Vivian and the people who have worked hard on her behalf, she succumbs and reluctantly goes on. She sings Mitchell's theme song, "My Dream is Yours" and both the studio and radio audiences love her. So does Holfer, who signs Martha to a contract to star on the Hour of Enchantment. Martha Gibson becomes a bonified star with maids, cars, furs and all the accoutrements of stardom. She searches in vain for Gary, who has gone on a drinking binge and can't be found. For months, she writes him letters, which are returned unopened. Meanwhile, her star rises to unbelievable heights, even a movie contract.
Months later, after bad publicity and a failed career, Mitchell shows up, desperate for work, and just as in the old days, Doug lends a helping hand. He arranges for Gary to sing at a reunion, which will be attended by none other than Mr. Holfer and his old boss, Thomas Hutchins (Adolphe Menjou). The famous Frankie Carle introduces Gary to the shocked audience and he proceeds to sing "My Dream is Yours". During the song, Gary is unable to hit certain notes and Martha, who is also in attendance, stands up and starts singing, moving towards the stage. A relieved Gary finishes the song with Martha and receives a standing ovation.
He then tells Martha that they should resume their relationship, but concentrate on his career, not hers. Gibson realises that Doug had been right in his assumptions about Gary and realises that she has been chasing the wrong rainbow. Coaxed up the bandstand to sing, Martha lets Doug know with the lyric of the song, "Someone Like You", that it is he that she loves, not Gary. This is a very entertaining film. Thank God it was not a carbon copy of "Romance on the High Seas". Doris Day had some dramatic moments in this and the role had some real substance. The question of loyalty was the central question, which many people face. Is the love of a man or a woman more important than an obligation to one's children or the people who have helped you? Martha Gibson had to make that choice.
I admired Jack Carson's character who tried to keep his relationship with his singer strictly business. For a spell, I thought that he and Vivian had some romantic ties, but later decided that they were indeed, just pals. Eve Arden was as stylish as she was in all of her pictures. She made several pictures with Doris and they worked well together. Lee Bowman played a very unsympathetic Gary Mitchell. He was the archetype of the spoiled, selfish star. He was aloof, arrogant, wolfish and completely ungrateful. A popular leading man, he received third, but equal billing with Jack Carson and Doris Day. Doris Day looked incredible in Technicolor. Ah, youth! Her last close-up while singing "Someone Like You" displayed what a beautiful woman she is, perfect, without flaws. I only wish that more songs had been assigned for her in this "musical". Most of her numbers were snippets shown while she was auditioning. There was one number she did with Carson and the famed cartoon character Bugs Bunny called "Freddie Get Ready" during a dream sequence, but a couple more ballads would have added much to the proceedings.
Director, Michael Curtiz, was nurturing a new star and it showed here. He showcased Doris Day to her best advantage by giving her the opportunity to show that she could act, not just sing. Her heart-to-heart conversations with Doug explaining her uncertainty, his reassurances and concern were very touching. S.Z. Sakall was enjoyable to watch, as usual, Adolphe Menjou (at the end of a distinguished career) was appropriately stuffy, Edgar Kennedy, the perfect uncle/father figure, Franklin Pangborn as the uppity manager and Sandra Gould as Day's friend and co-worker all played well. In short, this was a nice movie.
Ralph McKnight, New York, November 2000
"What's up, Doris?"
Worthy of special note is a dream sequence featuring Bugs Bunny in which the cartoon characters blends with live action. The screenplay by Henry Kurnitrz and Dane Lussier takes every chance to poke fun at radio and to get all the comedy out of the various situations. The many song numbers include: "My Dream is Yours," "Someone Like You," "Love Finds a Way," and "I'll String along with You."
Doris Day, Bugs Bunny and Jack Carson in a Looney-Tunes dream sequence for "My Dream Is Yours".
"The studio was shrewd.. in assigning Day roles that emphasized the similarities between her private self and her public persona.. Day's acting in My Dream Is Yours is far more restrained and varied than in her first film, and she is surrounded with a superior cast as well… Although My Dream Is Yours is shot through with music, much of it is thrown away or merely used in the background while the dialogue continues.. Especially lovely is Day's rendering of the standard, 'I'll String Along With You,' which she sings to her son in an effort to lull him to sleep." - Morris, Doris Day
"I enjoyed singing for films because it wasn't the impromptu business of standing in front of a ballroom band or a radio audience and hoping that one shot, despite all its distractions, would approximate my best effort." - Doris Day, Her Own Story
"This is a reasonably entertaining variant of the tired, old backstage musical, due chiefly to Doris Day's fresh and appealing personality and Jack Carson's glib and amiable buffoonery... Miss Day.. turns in another exuberant performance that will win the favor of audiences, she is becoming a marquee asset." - Film Bulletin