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I'll Get By

I'll Get By(1950)

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In December 1939, William Spencer, a song plugger for Leo Feist Inc. in New York, rushes one of the company's new records to disc jockey Peter Pepper. While en route, he crashes into a door being opened by a young woman, Liza Martin, and later discovers that the record is broken. After Bill gives Peter one of his own recorded songs to play, Peter takes it off the air in mid-broadcast, and Bill is fired. Bill is not unhappy, however, as he intends to open his own music publishing business. He rents a small office and hires a Miss Murphy as secretary, but the business does not prosper. When Texan Freddy Lee brings him a song and asks how much it would cost him to have it published, Bill makes him a partner. However, the song does not sell well, and they soon find themselves behind on the rent. Having grown up with singer Terry Martin, Freddy suggests they sell some songs to her and her sister Liza, who are appearing with Harry James at the Chi Chi Club. Chester Dooley, a pianist at a small club in Greenwich Village, then brings them a song he wants to have published, and Bill acquires another partner. When Bill and Freddy go to the Chi Chi Club and meet Terry and Liza, Bill recognizes Liza as the girl he bumped into at the radio station, while Terry remembers Freddy as a creep. However, Bill and Freddy manage to persuade the girls to try their music. After the show, they all go for coffee at "The Joint," where Dooley is playing. Liza and Terry try his song, "I'll Get By," and eventually they record it and it becomes a big hit. As the company expands and publishes several hits, Liza pursues Bill while Terry tolerates Freddy. Liza and Terry get a new contract with a Hollywood record company, so Bill and Freddy decide to open a western office. In 1941, the Martin sisters are invited to perform at a gala benefit concert for the Free French, and Bill arranges for them to perform a new song with music by George Gershwin. Bill is in his suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel when Jeanne Crain phones to say that she has heard about the Gershwin song and would like to do it at the benefit. As Bill has already promised the song to Liza, he tells Jeanne that it's not her type of song. Unknown to Bill, Freddy, thinking Bill had set it up, unwittingly agrees to let Jeanne do the song. When Liza finds out, she walks out on Bill. Another disaster occurs when ASCAP, the society representing composers and publishers, bans broadcast music, forcing stations to play only public domain material. Next, Bill and Freddy are drafted into the Marines. At their base in San Diego, they meet Miss Murphy, who is now an officer and she tells them that Liza and Terry have been signed by Twentieth Century-Fox and are currently shooting a movie. After Miss Murphy arranges leave for Bill and Freddy, they try to get into the studio. Actor Reginald Gardiner recognizes their names and advises Terry that they are at the gate, but Terry tells him that Liza will not see Bill. Miss Murphy goes to see Liza and after reminding her of Bill's good qualities, tells her that he never gave the song to Jeanne Crain. The next day, Reggie drives Liza to the San Diego Marine Base to see Bill, but they have already shipped out to the South Pacific. Liza and Terry sign up for U.S.O. tours and eventually wind up at a base in the South Pacific, where Freddy welcomes them. Terry rediscovers Freddy and agrees to marry him but refuses to live on a farm in Texas. However, she quickly changes her mind when she learns that Freddy owns the largest mink farm in Texas. Later during their show for the troops, the girls bring up Private Dan Dailey from the audience to join in a number. As it ends, a Marine general receives a message, which he then reads to the troops--Germany has surrendered. Bill returns from patrol, and he and Liza embrace.