I'll Be Your Sweetheart

I'll Be Your Sweetheart

Original British trade ad
Directed by Val Guest
Produced by associate
Louis Levy
Maurice Ostrer
Written by Val Valentine
Val Guest
additional dialogue
Edward Percy
Based on original story by Valentine and Guest
Starring Margaret Lockwood
Vic Oliver
Michael Rennie
Peter Graves
Music by Louis Levy
Cinematography Phil Grindrod
Edited by Alfred Roome
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release dates
30 July 1945
Running time
104 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

I'll Be Your Sweetheart is a 1945 British historical musical film directed by Val Guest and starring Margaret Lockwood, Vic Oliver and Michael Rennie. It was the first and only musical film produced by Gainsborough Studios. It was set at the beginning of the 20th century, and was about the composers of popular music hall songs fighting for a new copyright law that will protect them from having their songs stolen.[1]


In 1900 Bob Fielding arrives in London from the north of England determined to make it as a song publisher. He visits a music hall where he hears Edie Story singing "Oh Mr Porter" by George Le Brunn.

Songwriters Kahn and Kelly sell their latest song, "I'll Be Your Sweetheart" to Jim Knight, who also wants to be a publisher. Knight doesn't give them an advance so they sell it to Jim. This causes a rivalry between Bob and Jim, which is increased when both men fall in love with Edie.

Bob leads a movement to smash the music pirates. He asks Edie to speak out against them but she refuses, reluctant to get involved with what she sees is a political issue. However when composer Le Brunn dies impoverished, Edie makes an on-stage appeal to her audience to fight piracy.

Eventually the copyright bill is passed with the help of MP T.P. O'Connor. Bob leads a group of song writers to smash the printing presses of the pirates, resulting in a large brawl where Bob and his allies are victorious.

Bob and Edie decide to get married. Bob and Jim bury the hatchet as the copyright bill is passed.



The film was based on the real life copyright battles of Abbott and Preston in the early 1900s. Val Guest, the writer-director, was familiar with these struggles having been a former songwriter.[2]

Margaret Lockwood's singing voice was dubbed by Maudie Edwards.

Vic Oliver was billed above the title, just below Margaret Lockwood. However his role was fairly minor. It was the first major part for Michael Rennie who is given an "and introducing" credit in the film's opening credits.



Box Office

According to Kinematograph Weekly the film performed well at the British box office in 1945.[3][4] However Gainsborough Studios made no further musicals.


In the Radio Times, David Parkinson wrote, "Val Guest directs with brio, but the songs he's saddled with are decidedly second-rate";[5] while in The Independent, Tom Vallance described the film as an "under-rated musical...a film that combined the pace and vitality of the best Fox musicals with a trenchant look at flourishing music piracy at the turn of the century." [6]


The film was adapted for radio on the BBC in 1945.[7]


  1. Murphy p.202
  2. Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates By Adrian Johns p354
  3. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p 208
  4. Harper p.99
  5. David Parkinson. "I'll Be Your Sweetheart". RadioTimes.
  6. "Obituary: Peter Graves". The Independent.
  7. Program details


External links

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