The Gang's All Here (1943 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Gang's All Here
Gangs all here trailer.jpg
Directed by Busby Berkeley
Produced by William Goetz
William LeBaron
Written by Walter Bullock
Nancy Wintner
George Root Jr.
Tom Bridges
Starring Alice Faye
Carmen Miranda
Phil Baker
Benny Goodman
Music by Leo Robin
Harry Warren
Cinematography Edward Cronjager
Editing by Ray Curtiss
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates December 24, 1943 (1943-12-24)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Gang's All Here is a 1943 American Twentieth Century Fox Technicolor musical film starring Alice Faye, James Ellison, and Carmen Miranda in a story about a soldier and a nightclub singer. The film, directed and choreographed by Busby Berkeley, is considered a camp classic. It is noted for its use of musical numbers with fruit hats.[1]

Musical highlights include Carmen Miranda performing an insinuating, witty version of "You Discover You're in New York" that lampoons fads, fashions, and wartime shortages of the time. The film is also memorable for Miranda's "The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat", which because of its sexual innuendo (dozens of scantily clad women handling very large bananas), prevented the film from being shown in Miranda's native Portugal in its initial release.[2][3] Even in the US the censors dictated that the chorus girls must hold the bananas at the waist and not at the hip. Alice Faye sings "A Journey to a Star," "No Love, No Nothin'," and the surreal finale "The Polka-Dot Polka."

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color (James Basevi, Joseph C. Wright, Thomas Little).[4] It was the last musical Faye made as a Hollywood superstar. She was pregnant with her second daughter during filming.[5]

Plot[edit]

Wealthy businessman Andrew J. "A. J." Mason, Sr. takes his nervous partner, Peyton Potter, to the Club New Yorker for a celebratory evening with his son, Sgt. Andrew J. Mason, Jr., who is about to report for active duty in the Army. A. J. and Andy enjoy the show, which features master of ceremonies Phil Baker and dancer Tony De Marco, while Potter worries about what his wife Blossom would say if she knew he was there. While Potter is trapped into dancing with Brazilian sensation Dorita, Andy becomes intrigued by entertainer Eadie Allen. Phil warns Andy that because Eadie dances at the Broadway Canteen between shows, she will not go out on a date with him, but Andy follows her to the canteen and tells her that his name is Sgt. Pat Casey so that she will not be intimidated by his wealth. Despite her insistence that she cannot date servicemen outside the canteen, Eadie is charmed by Andy and agrees to meet him later when he pursues her to the nightclub. Eadie and Andy spend the evening talking and falling in love, and the next day, Eadie bids him farewell at the train station and promises to write every day. Andy distinguishes himself in battle in the South Pacific, and is granted a furlough after being awarded a medal. A. J. is thrilled and plans to throw a welcome home party for Andy at the Club New Yorker. Phil cannot accommodate his plans, however, as the club is closed for two weeks while the company rehearses a new show. Munificent as always, A. J. invites the performers to rehearse at his and Potter's homes, where they can throw a lavish garden party and war bond rally to welcome Andy. Potter is perturbed about the arrangements when he learns that Blossom knows Phil from her former days as an entertainer, and his chagrin grows when Tony's partner cannot perform and he asks Potter's daughter Vivian to dance with him. Hoping to persuade the stodgy Potter to allow Vivian to perform, Blossom tells him that Phil has threatened to reveal her wild past if Vivian is not in the show. Potter acquiesces, but his problems grow when he is pursued by the romantic-minded Dorita. When not chasing Potter, Dorita learns that Vivian has a boyfriend named Andy, and that he and Eadie's "Casey" are the same man. Complications arise as Dorita tries to keep Vivian and Eadie from discovering Andy's deception. When Andy and the real Pat Casey arrive at the club, however, Eadie learns the truth. Andy proclaims that he wants to marry her and not Vivian, but Eadie insists on breaking off their relationship, as she believes that Vivian really cares for him. During the show, however, Vivian tells Eadie that she is going to Broadway to perform as Tony's permanent partner, and reveals that she and Andy were never truly in love. As the show comes to a close, Eadie and Andy reconcile, and everyone joins in the final song.[6]

Production[edit]

The film follows the typical "boy-meets-girl" formula of musical comedy. A young soldier, Sgt. Andy Mason (James Ellison) meets Eadie Allen (Alice Faye), a New York City nightclub singer. The two fall in love. Unbeknownst to Eadie, Andy is unofficially engaged to long-time friend Vivian Potter (Sheila Ryan). Andy goes to war and returns a hero. His father (Eugene Pallette) arranges to have Eadie and her fellow nightclub performers (Carmen Miranda, Benny Goodman, Phil Baker, and dancer Tony DeMarco) appear in a war-bond drive at the estate of Vivian's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peyton Potter (Charlotte Greenwood and Edward Everett Horton). It is during rehearsals that Eadie learns the truth about Andy's relationship with Vivian. The clouds vanish and the lovers unite when Vivian decides she wants a career as a dancer rather than marriage. The film ends with everyone living happily ever after.

Noted drummer Louie Bellson appears uncredited in the Benny Goodman Orchestra while Carmen Miranda sings "Paducah".[7]

Cast[edit]

Soundtracks[edit]

  • You Discover You're in New York
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Performed by Carmen Miranda, Alice Faye, Phil Baker and chorus
  • Minnie's in the Money
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Arranged by Eddie Sauter
    • Sung by Benny Goodman with his band and a jitterbug chorus
  • Soft Winds
    • Written by Benny Goodman (instrumental)
    • Played by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
    • Danced by Alice Faye and James Ellison
  • The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Performed by Carmen Miranda and chorus
  • A Journey to a Star
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Sung by Alice Faye (and reprised by cast)
    • Danced by Tony De Marco and Sheila Ryan
  • No Love, No Nothin
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Arranged by Benny Carter
    • Sung by Alice Faye
    • Danced by Tony De Marco and Sheila Ryan
  • Paducah
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Played by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
    • Sung by Benny Goodman and Carmen Miranda
    • Danced by Carmen Miranda and Tony De Marco
  • The Polka Dot Polka
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
    • Sung by Alice Faye with dancers
  • The Polka Dot Ballet
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Performed by Busby Berkeley dancers
  • Silent Señorita
    • Music by Harry Warren
    • Lyrics by Leo Robin
  • Valse des rayons' from 'Le Papillon aka "Valse chaloupée"
  • P'ra Que Discutir
    • Written by Nestor Amaral
  • Diga o Ella
    • Written by Nestor Amaral

Critical reception[edit]

In his review of the film, The New York Times wrote: "(...) One or two of his dance spectacles seem to stem straight from Freud and, if interpreted, might bring a rosy blush to several cheeks in the Hays office. The songs are numerous but not notable. In fact, the most imaginative things in the show are the sets and costumes. And that's hardly enough to carry a show for an hour and a half."[9]

The MPH reviewer commented that the production numbers "are opulent in highly effective color combinations and are climaxed by a finale in the cubistic and modernistic tempo which is different from anything that has passed this reviewer's way since some of the abstract treatments employed by Walt Disney's Fantasia .

Wanda Hale of the New York Daily News wrote: "It's colossal, it's stupendous, and one of the artiest productions ever made... It is a Technicolor dream that takes on nightmarish proportions or the aspects of a Dali drawing in motion."[10]

"Busby Berkeley's most audacious film —an exploration of the possibilities of movement and color that moves into the realm of pure abstraction. The sexual symbolism is at its most blatant, what can you say about a film that features 60 girls waving gigantic bananas?" wrote critic Don Druker for the newspaper Chicago Reader.[11]

“It’s a very unusual movie, there’s nothing like it. It’s a routine 1940s musical with a corny wartime romantic plot, but it’s got these astounding, surrealistic production numbers by Busby Berkeley. People were overwhelmed seeing it in color in the ’70s.” said Eric Spilker for the New York Post.[12]

"Busby Berkeley's first in colour, reaching some sort of apotheosis in vulgarity with Carmen Miranda's 'Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat' accompanied by a parade of chorines manipulating outsize bananas." highlighted the magazine Time Out.[13]

"A weak script is somewhat relegated by the flock of tuneful musical numbers that frequently punctuate the picture. Alice Faye has never been screened more fetchingly, and she still lilts a ballad for sock results. Carmen Miranda is given her fattest screen part to date, and she’s a comedienne who can handle lines as well as put over her South American rhythm tunes. Phil Baker makes the most of invariably drab comedy lines, while Benny Goodman’s orch is always prominently focused. Of the cast, Miranda is outstanding, and the way she kicks around the English lingo affords much of the film’s comedy. Faye underplays as usual, but always clicko." said the magazine Variety.[14]

Awards[edit]

Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color (Nominated)[15]

DVD release[edit]

Fox released the film on a digitally remastered DVD in February 2007 as part of "The Alice Faye Collection." This DVD was criticized for its faded color reproduction that subdued the original vibrant Technicolor hues.[16] The film was released on DVD a second time in June 2008 as part of Fox's "The Carmen Miranda Collection." The 2008 DVD release contained a brighter and more colorful transfer.[17] A laserdisc version was released in 1997 by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment but was quickly pulled and is now a highly valued collector's item. Privately made copies in all formats are circulated among collectors. The film is occasionally shown on American television.

Note[edit]

  • The working title of this film was The Girls He Left Behind. According to a January 7, 1943 news item, composer Harry Warren was originally scheduled to work with lyricist Mack Gordon on the film's score, but Warren instead wrote the picture's songs with Leo Robin. A March 30, 1943 HR news item included "Pickin' on Your Momma" in the list of songs to be featured in the film. Modern sources note that the song, along with "Sleepy Moon" and "Drums and Dreams" were cut before the final release. According to HR news items and a studio press release, Linda Darnell was originally scheduled to play "Vivian Potter," which would have been her first dancing role in motion pictures.
  • Although Alice Faye did have a singing cameo in the 1944 film Four Jills in a Jeep, this picture marked her last appearance in a musical film until the 1962 version of State Fair. Faye, who was pregnant with her second child during filming of The Gang's All Here , retired from the screen and only made one additional film, the 1945 drama Fallen Angel until 1962.
  • The Gang's All Here marked the screen debuts of actresses June Haver (1926–2005), Jeanne Crain and Jo Carroll Dennison, who was Miss America of 1942. According to a 1944 LAT article, the film was to include a take-off on Phil Baker's popular radio show, "Take It or Leave It." The sequence was cut, and Baker instead made an entire film based on the show, called Take It or Leave It , for Twentieth Century-Fox. Director Busby Berkeley was borrowed from M-G-M for The Gang's All Here , although by the time additional scenes were shot in late Sep 1943, MGM had assigned his contract to Warner Bros.
  • Although some modern sources indicate that the film was banned in Brazil because of the giant bananas featured in "The Lady with The Tutti-Frutti Hat" number, the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contained no information about censorship in Brazil and the film was approved for export to South American countries. The picture received an Academy Award nomination in the Art Direction (Color) category.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE GANG’S ALL HERE". RICHARD BRODY. February 2, 2010. p. The New Yorker. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Review at TVGuide.com
  3. ^ Censored Films and Television at University of Virginia online
  4. ^ The Gang's All Here (1943) Awards at IMDB
  5. ^ "IMDb.com: The Gang's All Here". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  6. ^ "FULL SYNOPSIS: The Gang's All Here". p. TCM Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Louie Bellson biography at Jazz Connection Magazine online". p. Jazz Connection Magazine. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Soundtrack: The Gang's All Here". p. IMDb. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW: The Gang s All Here (1943) At the Roxy". December 23, 1943. p. The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Gang's All Here: Generic versus Racial". p. York University Libraries. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Film Search: The Gang's All Here". Don Druker. p. Chicago Reader. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ "CARMEN MIRANDA’S RIPE FOR FILM FORUM FUN". Lou Lumenick. August 11, 2005. p. New York Post. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Gang's All Here". p. Time Out. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Review: ‘The Gang’s All Here’". December 31, 1942. p. Variety. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ "The 16th Academy Awards (1944) Nominees and Winners". March 2, 1944. p. Academy Awards. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  16. ^ "New York Times online - New DVDs: "The Alice Faye Collection"". DAVE KEHR. February 20, 2007. p. The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ "New York Times online - New DVD's: "The Carmen Miranda Collection"". DAVE KEHR. 17 June 2008. p. The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ "American Film Institute Catalog: 'The Gang's All Here'". p. American Film Institute Catalog. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]