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Trivia / One Touch of Venus

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The original Broadway show:

  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Speak Low" was the real runaway hit, receiving hundreds of covers and recordings over the years. The show is rarely revived so, despite it running for 567 performances, the song is not often associated with it.
  • Star-Making Role: This made Mary Martin a Broadway sensation.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Bella Spaldwick was first hired to write the musical's book. Hers stuck a little closer to the novel the thing was adapted from (which was set in the Victorian period). Unsatisfied with her work, she was fired by producers (though she went on to co-write Kiss Me, Kate). The plot received a Setting Update to put it in then-contemporary times.
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    • Gertrude Lawrence and Vera Zorina turned down the part of Venus after Marlene Dietrich was dropped. Mary Martin was making waves with her supporting role in the Cole Porter musical Leave It To Me!, and so was approached to take the role.

The 1948 film adaptation:

  • Acting for Two: Ava Gardner plays both Venus and the new department store worker at the end, also called Venus.
  • Deleted Role: Hugh Herbert filmed scenes playing Mercury, but they were deleted.
  • Executive Meddling: The original statue of Venus (which was modelled off Ava Gardner herself) depicted her nude (as is traditional). The studio insisted the statue be redone with a dress on.
  • Non-Singing Voice: In the film version, Ava Gardner's singing was dubbed by Eileen Wilson.
  • Playing Against Type: Robert Walker - usually creeps or villains - as the bumbling Eddie Hatch.
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  • Reality Subtext: Robert Walker was reportedly just as infatuated with Ava Gardner as Eddie is with Venus in the film.
  • What Could Have Been: Mary Pickford bought the rights and intended to produce the film with Mary Martin as Venus, as she had played the role on Broadway. Frank Sinatra, Bert Lahr and Clifton Webb would also have starred. Mary Martin had to drop out when she became pregnant, so Mary Pickford ended up selling the rights.


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