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National Science and Media Museum

Love Me or Leave Me (PG)

This Oscar-winning musical biography tells the tempestuous story of nightclub singer Ruth Etting and her husband/manager Martin Snyder.

1920s Chicago nightclub singer and dime-a-dance girl Ruth Etting (Doris Day) is offered a lifeline by racketeer Martin ‘Moe the Gimp’ Snyder (James Cagney); he later becomes her husband and manager, propelling her to stardom. This fictionalised version of their tempestuous marriage is still regarded as one of the most fully realised musical biographies on film.

The role was a huge departure for Day, often typecast as the ‘girl next door’. Yet it marked a dramatic turning point in her film career following a long contract with Warner Brothers. The result is complex, combative and ultimately heartbreaking chemistry between Day and Cagney, earning the film box office success as well as five Academy Award nominations.

This film is screening as part of Women in Widescreen and as part of our Doris Day celebration.


This screening will be introduced by award-winning broadcaster, journalist and documentary maker Samira Ahmed. Read Samira’s blog post about Doris Day’s cinematic legacy.

Samira Ahmed presents Front Row on Radio 4 and Newswatch on BBC1 and the BBC News Channel. Her radio documentaries explore her fascination with the intersection of culture, politics and social change, and include I Dressed Ziggy Stardust, The Fundamentalist Queen, HG Wells and the H-Bomb and Laura Ingalls’ America. She is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford and a Visiting Professor of Journalism at Kingston University.