But Not For Me (1959)
Release Date: August 19, 1959
Directed by: Walter Lang
Not currently available on DVD
Gable is Russ Ward, an aging Broadway producer deep in debt and losing his touch. When he finally decides to throw in the towel, his much younger secretary, Ellie Brown (Baker), admits to being in love with him. Her speech to him gives him the idea for a great play and he sets to work on it, reviving his career, leading Ellie on in the process. She proves she can play the lead role and becomes a success. Russ starts to have feelings for Ellie but his ever-present meddling ex-wife, Kathryn (Palmer) interferes.
Ella Fitzgerald singing the hit theme song, by Ira and George Gershwin
“Hello? Thank you, operator.” first line
“I don’t believe in awards, they’re for historians. I deal strictly in the future books.”
“You read contracts for a living! What do you know about character and plot?”
“Are you trying to tell me that I’m through? That I’m old fashioned, a has-been? Well even if you’re thinking it you couldn’t be more wrong!”
“Your cough is the illegitimate child of you and those cigarettes!”
“You cast a sixty year old man pawing over a girl of twenty and the audience will go home sick!”
“I believed in you. It’s too bad you haven’t courage enough to believe in yourself.”
“Come on, let’s have a farewell drink before the ship goes under.”
“You’ll find someone else. The world is full of exciting people, much more exciting than I am.”
“I’m an expert on the care and feeding of egos.”
“I’ve seen French generals kiss heroes with more passion!”
“Marriage is a serious thing. You don’t just jump into it in the middle of a play.”
“I remember my first opening, 22 years–well, what difference does the date make, the feeling’s the same.”
“Honey, tonight you’d marry Frankenstein.”
“You think it’s safe to be out here alone? You might easily be stabbed!”
“Have you realized how few clothes you have on?”
“Nothing has ruined more good actors than the bottle.”
“I’m no artist. I’m a promoter, pure and simple. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to stay on top, I’d use anybody or anything. You know, I’ve gotten by on hustle, on out- working, out-talking, out-promising and out-gambling everybody else. I don’t always come home nights. I’ve got a bad temper and I’d make a poor father. I can only die broke, out of breath and facing reality for the first time. Ellie, you’d be a fool to marry me.”
“You were a kid who got some glamour dust on her and couldn’t see straight.”
“That’s one of the tragedies in life. People not believing what’s right in front of them.”
“Youth. The kids can have it!”
“There’s an angry husband if I’ve ever heard one. And I have.”
“What right did you have to risk MY money on MY play?”
“Maybe you’re right.” last line
Behind the Scenes:
Based on the 1930 play “Accent on Youth.” It had been filmed twice before, in 1934 with Herbert Marshall and in 1950 with Bing Crosby (as Mr. Music).
The film’s title theme song far outlasted the film in popularity. Originally sang by Ella Fitzgerald, it became a standard.
The only time Gable worked with director Walter Lang, who was a longtime friend. Walter’s wife, “Fieldsie” Lang, was Carole Lombard’s close friend and Carole was godmother to their son, Richard.
On the marquee for the play in the film, “Give Me Your Hand”, the name “Richard Lang” is listed as one of the actors. That is the name of the director’s son.
A flop at the box office, largely blamed on the miscasting of Carroll Baker, who wasn’t an established actress and who lacked chemistry with Gable. However, it was the most critically praised performance of Gable’s post-war career.
Baker later recalled that her first scene to film was the one in which she grabs Gable and kisses him. She was scared stiff. She said he put her at ease but she still nearly fainted and had to redo the scene several times.
At the wrap party for the film, Gable gifted the cast with baskets of Kay’s homemade potato chips, made from their potato crop on the ranch.
Gable was nominated for a Best Actor Musical/Comedy Golden Globe for his role. The film was also nominated for Best Picture Musical/Comedy and Lilli Palmer was nominated for Best Actress.