Doris Day in a green dress surrounded by male dancers in tuxedos in 'Love Me or Leave Me' (1955)
Doris Day in a green dress surrounded by male dancers in tuxedos in 'Love Me or Leave Me' (1955)
Love Me or Leave Me (1955) Roadshow Classics

ACMI presents

Love Me or Leave Me

Charles Vidor | U.S.A. | 1955 | PG

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Fri 1 Apr - Sat 9 Apr 2022

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Doris Day shines in a fictionalised account of singer Ruth Etting's tumultuous life with her manager and husband (James Cagney).

A rich canvas of the Roaring 20s with gutsy and excellent performances.


Chicago, 1920s: Ruth Etting (Doris Day) dreams of breaking into showbusiness, but is trapped dancing for dimes in a dive nightclub whilst fending off over-familiar customers. When the aggressive smalltime gangster Martin “The Gimp” Snyder (James Cagney) offers Ruth a chance to perform at one of his clubs, the spunky singer accepts the career opportunity but struggles to keep his romantic advances at bay.

As Ruth’s star soars, Snyder’s heavy-handed management of her career and life begins to threaten her chance at independence, and true happiness with another.

While Day was still a few years away from an Academy Award win for Pillow Talk (1959), Love Me or Leave Me was a chance for Day to upend expectations with her dramatic turn as the gritty Ruth. Writing for Film Comment, Sheila O'Malley notes that "while James Cagney and Doris Day both give tour de force performances, it’s a career best for Day."

Notably more cynical than other MGM musicals, Love Me or Leave Me is a magnetic portrayal of the darker side of showbusiness. Our screenings coincide with what would have been Doris Day's 100th birthday on April 3.

Format: DCP
Language: English
Source: Roadshow Classics
Courtesy: Roadshow Classics
Runtime: 122 min

Event duration

122 mins




Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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READ: TCM Diary: Love Me or Leave Me
Sheila O'Malley, Film Comment, Feb 2018

WATCH: Doris Day, Chanteuse: Her Greatest Musical Performances
A. D. Amorosi, Variety, May 2019

WATCH: Doris Day: Five great moments
Matthew Thrift, Sight & Sound, May 2019

Doris Day in a blue dress in 'Love Me or Leave Me' (1955)


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