Love Me or Leave Me

Love Me or Leave Me

3.0 3
Director: Charles Vidor, Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell

Cast: Charles Vidor, Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell


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One of the gutsiest movie musicals of the 1950s, Love Me or Leave Me is the true story of 1930s torch-singer Ruth Etting, here played by Doris Day. While working in a dime-a-dance joint, Ruth is discovered by Chicago racketeer Martin "The Gimp" Snyder (fascinatingly played with nary a redeeming quality by James Cagney). The smitten Snyder exerts pressure on his


One of the gutsiest movie musicals of the 1950s, Love Me or Leave Me is the true story of 1930s torch-singer Ruth Etting, here played by Doris Day. While working in a dime-a-dance joint, Ruth is discovered by Chicago racketeer Martin "The Gimp" Snyder (fascinatingly played with nary a redeeming quality by James Cagney). The smitten Snyder exerts pressure on his show-biz connections, and before long Ruth is a star of nightclubs, stage and films. Ruth continues to string Snyder along to get ahead, but she can't help falling in love with musician Johnny Alderman (Cameron Mitchell). After sinking his fortune into a nightclub for Ruth's benefit, Snyder is rather understandably put out when he finds her in the arms of Alderman. Snyder shoots the musician (but not fatally) and is carted away to prison. Upon his release, Snyder finds that Ruth is still in love with Alderman; he is mollified by her act of largesse in keeping her promise to perform in his nightclub at a fraction of her normal salary. No one comes off particularly nobly in Love Me or Leave Me, even though the still-living Ruth Etting, Martin Snyder and Johnny Alderman were offered full script approval. The fact that we are seeing flesh-and-blood opportunists rather than the usual sugary-sweet MGM musical stick figures naturally makes for a more powerful film. In his autobiography, James Cagney had nothing but praise for his co-star Doris Day, and bemoaned the fact that she would soon turn her back on dramatic roles to star in a series of fluffy domestic comedies.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
An MGM musical remarkably free of sentimentality, Love Me or Leave Me (1955) features top-billed Doris Day as 1920s and 30s blues singer Ruth Etting and James Cagney as her sadistic gangster husband Martin "The Gimp" Snyder. A more bitter than sweet view of Etting's real life rise to fame and her twisted relationship with Snyder, screenwriters Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart and director Charles Vidor present Etting and Snyder as equally ruthless in their professional and personal lives. Even as his adoration of Etting may humanize him, Cagney's Snyder is also psychotically violent; Day matches Cagney's intensity as the tortured yet emotionally cruel Etting. Punctuated by Day's performances of Etting hits like "Shaking the Blues Away," and the new composition "I'll Never Stop Loving You," Love Me or Leave Me became a box office hit, despite fan objections to Day's uncharacteristically licentious onscreen presence. Even though critics agreed that Day could hold her own dramatically opposite Cagney, only Cagney received an Oscar nomination for his fascinating performance as a most unsavory man. Also nominated for several other Oscars including Best Song and Score, Love Me or Leave Me won the Oscar for Fuchs's story.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.0; 3 Vintage Shorts, the First Two with Ruth Etting: A Modern Cinderella - Roseland - A Salute to the Theatres ; Theatrical trailer; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français & Español

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Doris Day Ruth Etting
James Cagney Martin "The Gimp" Snyder
Cameron Mitchell Johnny Alderman
Robert Keith Bernard V. Loomis
Tom Tully Frobisher
Harry Bellaver Georgie
Richard Gaines Paul Hunter
Peter Leeds Fred Taylor
Claude Stroud Eddie Fulton
John Harding Greg Trent
Robert Carson Mr. Brelston, Radio Station Manager
John Day Stage-Hand
Roy Engel 1st Reporter,Propman
Robert Malcolm Doorman
Phil Schumacher Actor
Michael Kostrick Assistant Director
Shirley Wilson Chorus Girl
Barry Regan Guard
Audrey Wilder Jingle Girl
Dorothy Abbott Dancer
Jay Adler Orry
Genevieve Aumont Woman
Veda Ann Borg Hostess
Chet Brandenburg Chauffeur
Benny Burt Stage manager
Claire Carleton Claire
Jimmy Cross Photographer
John Damler 2nd Reporter
James Drury Assistant director
Mauritz Hugo Irate customer
Henry Kulky Bouncer
Paul McGuire Drapery man
Otto Reichow Bouncer
Dick Simmons Dance director
Bob Stephenson Waiter
Larri Thomas Chorus girl
Dale Van Sickel Stagehand

Technical Credits
Charles Vidor Director
Arthur E. Arling Cinematographer
Nicholas Brodszky Score Composer
Ridgeway Callow Asst. Director
Percy Faith Score Composer
Daniel Fuchs Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Production Designer
Isobel Lennart Screenwriter
Urie McCleary Production Designer
Wesley C. Miller Sound/Sound Designer
Jack D. Moore Set Decoration/Design
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Joe Pasternak Producer
Alex Romero Choreography
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
George Stoll Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
Ralph Winters Editor

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [2:03]
2. Giving a Girl a Break [6:25]
3. Belonging to the Gimp [4:00]
4. No Miami for Her [3:02]
5. It All Depends on You [5:07]
6. Quite a Performer [5:09]
7. Don't Lie to Yourself [2:20]
8. You Made Me Love You [2:38]
9. Stay on the Right Side, Sister [1:08]
10. Stuck on Her [5:13]
11. Everybody Loves My Baby [3:54]
12. Plans for Her [2:51]
13. Nothing's Changed [2:53]
14. Sam, the Old Accordion Man [3:29]
15. From the Same Place [2:25]
16. No Shoving [3:06]
17. Shakin' the Blues Away [4:07]
18. No Way to Play [5:18]
19. Newlywed's Not Complaining [1:43]
20. Road Tour; Ten Cents a Dance [4:21]
21. Headed for Hollywood [4:31]
22. What Makes You Tick [4:11]
23. I'll Never Stop Loving You [1:28]
24. Not Like a Stranger [4:30]
25. Never Look Back [3:33]
26. Who's Boss [5:06]
27. Get Along Without Me [4:16]
28. Once it's Finished [5:00]
29. Two Bullets for Johnny [3:27]
30. No Part of You [4:00]
31. Contractual Obligation [4:24]
32. Love Me or Leave Me [3:36]
33. Cast List [1:53]


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Love Me or Leave Me 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought-provoking: This is the sad story of Ruth Etting and legendary singer told through the voice of the amazing Doris Day. The  story follows her troubles through out her career with a mobster played by the legendary mobster actor James Cagney. With a great performance by Cameron Mitchell, this film is a must see, so buy it!
RETTX More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy Doris Day movies, but this one is depressing and sad. I had forgotten the story, but she is treated poorly by a semi-mobster, and she leaves him but with forgiveness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago