A terrific Broadway play was given a dismal screen treatment, highlighted only by a few Cole Porter tunes salvaged from the play. MGM paid $130,000 for the rights to the play, only to toss most of it aside. In New York, it starred Ethel Merman, James Dunn, Arthur Treacher, Rags Ragland,
Betty Hutton, and Joan Carroll and it ran for more than 500 performances. In the film, Sothern runs a nightclub in Panama, some sailors enter, a few spies are tossed in to relieve the vaudeville-like production numbers, and the picture is over. It ran less than 80 minutes and managed to pack in a
host of songs, so you can get the idea that the story material was nearly nonexistent, despite the uncredited script work by Lillie Messinger, Mary C. McCall, Jr., Joseph Schrank, as well as uncredited direction by Vincente Minelli. Tunes by Cole Porter include: "It Was Just One of Those Things"
(sung by Lena Horne, in her second film), "Fresh as a Daisy" (sung by Virginia O'Brien), "I've Still Got My Health" (sung by Ann Sothern), "Let's Be Buddies" (sung by Sothern, Horner), "Make It Another Old Fashioned" (sung by Sothern). Other songs are: "Hattie from Panama," "Good Neighbors," "I'll
Do Anything for You" (Roger Edens), "The Son of a Gun Who Picks on Uncle Sam" (Burton Lane, E. Y. "Yip" Harburg), "Did I Get Stinkin' at the Savoy?" (Walter Donaldson, Harburg, sung by O'Brien), "The Sping" (Phil Moore, J. Le Gon), "La Bumba Rhumba" (Alex Hyde), "Berry Me Not" (Moore), "Hail,
Hail, the Gang's All Here" (Sir Arthur Sullivan's music from "The Pirates of Penzance" (lyrics by Theodore F. Morse). Off-stage music included "They Ain't Done Right by Our Nell" (Porter). The excellent vocal and orchestra arrangements were by George Bassman and Conrad Salinger. With all the
flaws, this trifle made more than $4 million on the first release, an indication of how much the US wanted to forget that a war was going on. Good burlesque work from Skelton, Blue, and Ragland (the only repeater from Broadway) provided what little humor there was.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A terrific Broadway play was given a dismal screen treatment, highlighted only by a few Cole Porter tunes salvaged from the play. MGM paid $130,000 for the rights to the play, only to toss most of it aside. In New York, it starred Ethel Merman, James Dunn,… (more)