Best Foot Forward (film)

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Best Foot Forward
Original window card
Directed byEdward Buzzell
Written byIrving Brecher
Fred F. Finklehoffe
Dorothy Kingsley
Based onBest Foot Forward
1943 book
by John Cecil Holm
Produced byArthur Freed
StarringLucille Ball
William Gaxton
Virginia Weidler
CinematographyLeonard Smith
Edited byBlanche Sewell
Music byLennie Hayton
Distributed byMetro Goldwyn Mayer
Release date
  • October 8, 1943 (1943-10-08)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,704,000[1]

Best Foot Forward is a 1943 American musical film adapted from the 1941 Broadway musical comedy of the same title. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Edward Buzzell, and starred Lucille Ball, William Gaxton, Virginia Weidler, Chill Wills, June Allyson, Gloria DeHaven, and Nancy Walker.

The actors did their own singing, except for Lucille Ball, whose singing was dubbed by Gloria Grafton; Virginia Weidler, whose singing was dubbed by Jeanne Darrell; and Jack Jordan, whose singing was dubbed by Ralph Blane.

Weidler, then 16 years old, retired from acting after this film was made, making Best Foot Forward her final screen appearance.


Lucille Ball is at a military academy full of frisky boys. Ball is the reluctant guest of a diminutive cadet, Bud Hooper, who wrote her a "mash note" and invitation to be his date at a school prom.

Ball's publicity man, Jack O'Riley, seizes upon the situation as a perfect PR stunt, and convinces her to travel 3,000 miles to join Hooper at Winsocki Military Institute's dance. When Ball actually shows up, mayhem ensues. Hooper, who never dreamed she would accept, has to disinvite his girlfriend, Helen Schlesinger, and ask Ball to pretend to be Helen, lest the actress herself not pass muster with the institution's screening committee.

Helen fights back while Hooper tries to keep Ball from the clutches of other cadets who want to steal her for themselves. Meanwhile, Harry James and his orchestra perform various songs, including "The Flight of the Bumblebee".


Musical numbers[edit]

Sydney Guilaroff tinted Lucille Ball's hair flame red for her previous film, Du Barry Was a Lady (1943). She was so pleased, she kept it red for the rest of her life.[2]

All songs by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin.

  • "Buckle Down, Winsocki" - Sung by Tommy Dix and Chorus behind titles.
  • "Wish I May Wish I Might" - Sung and Danced by Gloria DeHaven, June Allyson, Kenny Bowers, Jack Jordan (dubbed by Ralph Blane), Sara Haden, Donald McBride, and Chorus.
  • "Three Men on a Date" - Sung by Tommy Dix, Kenny Bowers, and Jack Jordan (dubbed by Ralph Blane).
  • "Two O'Clock Jump" - Played by Harry James and His Music Makers.
  • "Ev'ry Time" - Played by Harry James and His Music Makers.
  • "Ev'ry Time" (vocal reprise) - Sung by Virginia Weidler (dubbed by Jeanne Darrell).
  • "Flight of the Bumblebee" - Played by Harry James and His Music Makers.
  • "The Three B's" - Sung and Danced by June Allyson, Gloria DeHaven, Nancy Walker, and Chorus with Harry James and His Music Makers.
  • "I Know You by Heart" - Played by Harry James and His Music Makers.
  • "My First Promise (The Ring Waltz)" - Sung by Beverly Tyler and Chorus with Harry James and His Music Makers.
  • "Alive and Kickin'" - Performed by Nancy Walker and Harry James and His Music Makers, Danced by Harry James and Nancy Walker.
  • "You're Lucky" - Sung by Lucille Ball (dubbed by Gloria Grafton).
  • "Buckle Down, Winsocki" (reprise) - Sung by Tommy Dix and Chorus.

Box office[edit]

According to MGM records, the film earned $2,051,000 in the US and Canada, and $653,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $398,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Du Barry Was a Lady (1943) Trivia at IMDb

External links[edit]