It Happened in Brooklyn (1947): Romantic Musical Starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Peter Lawford

Modestly directed by Richard Whorf in black-and-white, the middling musical It Happened in Brooklyn was Frank Sinatra’s third film for MGM, after it had purchased his contract from RKO.

The film’s tagline was “Happy songs! Happy stars! Happy romance!”

Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne’s songs include “The Song’s Gotta Come From the Heart” (duet by Sinatra and Durante), “The Brooklyn Bridge”, “Whose Baby Are You”, “I Believe”, “Time After Time,” and “It’s the Same Old Dream.”

It Happened in Brooklyn begins in England at the end of WWII, where GI Danny Miller (Sinatra) is awaiting transport back home to the US.

On his last night there, he meets Jamie Shellgrove (Peter Lawford), a shy man overprotected by his grandfather.  Observing Miller come to his grandson’s aid at the piano, he asks him to give him “some words of encouragement.”

To impress the Brooklyn-born nurse (Gloria Grahame), he vows to help Jimmy.  But then Danny discovers that Jamie is the duke’s heir.

Upon Danny’s return to Brooklyn, the film switches gears by describing the dreams of the working-class men. Danny aims to become singer-musician rather than a shipping clerk, whereas Jimmy wishes to break out of his shyness and gain a wife and a musical career.  Grayson’s ambition is give up her schoolteaching job to star in the opera.

In the end, Danny, realizing that the nurse he talked to is the only girl for him, is determined to find and win her heart.

In one sequence, Sinatra and Grayson sing the famous aria, “La ci darem le mano” from Mozart’s famous opera, “Don Giovanni.”

Richard Whorf, who replaced George Sidney, is best known for directing the TV series, Beverly Hillbillies, Gunsmoke, and My Three Sons.

The film’s piano solos were performed by the pianist and composer Andre Previn.