Best Foot Forward (film)

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Best Foot Forward
Best Foot Forward Movie Poster.jpg
Original window card
Directed by Edward Buzzell
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by Irving Brecher
Fred F. Finklehoffe
Dorothy Kingsley
Based on Best Foot Forward
1943 book
by John Cecil Holm
Starring Lucille Ball
William Gaxton
Virginia Weidler
Music by Lennie Hayton
Cinematography Leonard Smith
Edited by Blanche Sewell
Distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Release date
  • October 8, 1943 (1943-10-08)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,162,000[1]
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 MGM, 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 Louanne Hogan, and Jack Jordan, whose singing was dubbed by Ralph Blane.


The story centers around Lucille Ball who plays herself against the backdrop of a military academy full of frisky boys. Ball is the reluctant guest of a diminutive cadet, Bud Hooper (Tommy Dix), who wrote her a "mash note" and invitation to be his date at a school prom.

Ball's publicity man, Jack O'Riley (William Gaxton), seizes upon the situation as a perfect PR stunt and convinces her to travel 3,000 miles to join Hooper at Winsocki Military Academy's dance. When Ball actually shows up, mayhem ensues. Hooper, who never dreamed she would accept, has to disinvite his girlfriend, Helen (Virginia Weidler), 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". The cast also sing and dance their way through such numbers as "Buckle Down, Winsocki" (the tune co-opted in the 1960s for "Buckle Up for Safety"), "Wish I May," "Three Men on a Date", "Alive and Kickin'", "The Barrelhouse", "The Boogie-Woogie and the Blues", and "Ev'ry time." [The soundtrack CD also includes the cut "What Do You Think I Am?"]


Musical numbers[edit]

  • "Buckle Down, Winsocki" - Sung by Tommy Dix and Chorus behind titles.
  • "Wish I May Wish I Might" - Sung and Danced by Glora De Haven, June Allyson, Kenny Bowers, Jack Jordan (dubbed by Ralph Blane), Sara Haden, Donald McBribe 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 Louanne Hogan).
  • "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 .

External links[edit]