By Jorge Camara
With a Song in my Heart won a Golden Globe as Best Motion Picture Comedy/Musical of 1952. Its star, Susan Hayward, won Best Actress. The film was directed by Walter Lang.
Typical of the period, the picture was a romanticized and not quite accurate biography of famous songstress, Jane Froman, whose real voice was used in all the singing sequences. Froman was in an airplane crash on an USO tour during World War II. Her valiant refusal to be seen as a cripple, and her efforts to reclaim her career without the use of her legs, form the dramatic core of the film. Romantic entanglements ensue between the singer and her husband (David Wayne) who managed her and made her a star, and the pilot (Rory Calhoun) who survived the same accident. Many of the unavoidable tendencies to schmaltz and sentimentality are thankfully and firmly squashed by the incomparable Thelma Ritter, appearing in the role of a nurse who refuses to allow her ward to wallow in self-pity. In a small role credited with making him a star, a very young Robert Wagner plays a shell-shocked soldier who comes to life when Hayward sings to him.
More than two dozen songs that Froman made famous are used in the movie, including “Blue Moon,” “That Old Feeling,” “It’s a Good Day,” “Get Happy,” “I’m Through with Love,” “Give My Regards To Broadway,” “California Here I Come” and, of course, the one that serves as the film’s title.
Three years later, Susan Hayward would play another troubled singer, Lillian Roth, in another fake biography, I’ll Cry Tomorrow (this one dealing with alcoholism), in which Hayward’s voice would again be dubbed by the actual singer.