24 December 2005 | theowinthrop
Lazslo's Film Becomes a Television version of a Broadway Musical
Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock composed the scores of a number of successful musical. In the 1970s they did this musical, based on Miklos Lazslo's PERFUMERIE, which Ernst Lubitsch turned into THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, and which had been made into the musical film IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME. Called SHE LOVES ME, it returns the setting to the leather goods store of the 1940 film (as opposed to the music shop of the 1949 film), and keeps the plot lines of the Lubitsch film as well. That is, we have the jealousy on the part of the store owner leading to his discharging the wrong man. We also have that same man discovering that the pen-pal he has come to admire, even adore, is the same woman he constantly fights with at work.
SHE LOVES ME was a success on Broadway, and PBS did this television version in 1978 using a British cast. Robin Ellis was playing the James Stewart/Van Johnson role, and Gemma Craven had the Margaret Sullivan/Judy Garland role. Ellis was at the peak of his fame across the Atlantic in the U.S. due to playing Ross Poldark, the hero of the series POLDARK based on the Winston Graham novels about late 18th Century Cornwall. This televised production demonstrated that Ellis was more than capable to handle a singing and dancing role, especially in the best known number from the show (the title song, "She Loves Me". Ms Craven did well too, my favorite recollection being her singing "ICE CREAM", the song that is the beginning of her realization that the fellow who has been a pain in her neck at the job is really quite a sweet guy.
The most interesting thing I found in this version of the story is that the villain actually has a strong good-bye number. Like Schildkraut he gets his comeuppance from management, but unlike that gentleman he takes it well. He'll always be a sneak, and his song shows he is proud of his intelligent slyness, and that he realizes that even with this temporary set-back he'll eventually come out on top somewhere else. He probably did.