Follow the Boys
|Follow the Boys|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||A. Edward Sutherland|
|Produced by||Charles K. Feldman|
Fred E. Ahlert|
|Edited by||Fred R. Feitshans Jr.|
Chas. K. Feldman Group Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$2 million|
Follow the Boys also known as Three Cheers for the Boys is a 1944 musical film made by Universal Pictures during World War II as an all-star cast morale booster to entertain the troops abroad and the civilians at home. The film was directed by A. Edward "Eddie" Sutherland and produced by Charles K. Feldman. The movie stars George Raft and Vera Zorina and features Grace McDonald, Charles Grapewin, Regis Toomey and George Macready.
Making appearances are Walter Abel, Carmen Amaya, The Andrews Sisters, Evelyn Ankers, Louise Beavers, Noah Beery Jr., Turhan Bey, Steve Brodie, Nigel Bruce, Lon Chaney Jr., the Delta Rhythm Boys, Andy Devine, Marlene Dietrich, W. C. Fields, Susanna Foster, Thomas Gomez, Louis Jordan and His Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Jeanette MacDonald, Maria Montez, Clarence Muse, Donald O'Connor, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, Artur Rubinstein, Peggy Ryan, Randolph Scott, Dinah Shore, Freddie Slack and His Orchestra, Gale Sondergaard, Sophie Tucker, Orson Welles, among many others.
Tony West performs on vaudeville in a group with his father, Nick and sister Kitty, The decline of vaudeville forces the group to split up and Tony goes to Hollywood to try to make it in movies. He works at Universal Pictures, where he becomes screen partners with, and then the husband of, star Gloria Vance.
When World War Two breaks out, Tony tries to enlist but is refused because of his knee. Tony finds himself organising the Hollywood Victory Committee (H.V.C.), a consortium of motion picture, theatrical and radio personalities dedicated to help the war effort.
He puts on a show that includes performances from Donald O'Connor and Jeannette MacDonald.
Tony and Gloria have a big fight and she doesn't tell him that she's fallen pregnant. Tony organizes another show, where Orson Welles performs magic tricks including sawing Marlene Dietrich in half.
Raft goes overseas. Tony is killed during an attack by a Japanese submarine. Gloria takes Tony's place entertaining the troops.
- George Raft as Tony West
- Vera Zorina as Gloria Vance
- Charles Grapewin as Nick West
- Grace McDonald as Kitty
- Charles Butterworth as Louie West
- George Macready as Bruce
- Elizabeth Patterson as Annie
- Theodore von Eltz as Barrett
- Regis Toomey as Doctor Henderson
- Ramsay Ames as Laura
- Spooks as Junior
- And Molly Lamont, Doris Lloyd, Nelson Leigh, Lane Chandler, Cyril Ring, Emmett Vogan, Addison Richards, Stanley Andrews, Frank Jenks, Ralph Dunn, Billy Benedict, Howard C. Hickman, Edwin Stanley, Wallis Clark, Richard Crane, Frank Wilcox, Clyde Cook, Bobby Barber, Walter Tetley, Anthony Warde, William Forrest, Dennis Moore, Duke York, Carlyle Blackwell, Edwin Stanley, Charles King
The film was announced in June 1943. It was produced by Charles K. Feldman and was inspired by the success of Stage Door Canteen at Warner Bros. The original title was Three Cheers for the Boys. George Raft signed in July 1943.
It was WC Fields' first movie since 1941. He performs an old pool playing job he first developed in vaudeville in 1903.
The movie features a speech at the end about "soldiers in greasepaint", a tribute to those who entertained the troops during World War Two. It features an "honor roll" which lists those entertainers who died in the war, including Carole Lombard, Leslie Howard, Roy Rognan, Tamara, Charles King and Bob Ripa.
The New York Times called a "sentimental tribute... cheap screen entertainment - and hardly a tribute to the players it presents."
Songs and acts
- George Raft - several dance numbers
- Vera Zorina - dances to "A Better Day is Coming" and "I Feel a Song Coming On"
- George Raft and Zorina - dance to "Tonight"
- Delta Rhythm Boys - "The House I Live In"
- The Andrews Sisters - "Shoo Shoo Baby" and a medley of their hits including "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön", "Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood, Mama)", "The Beer Barrel Polka", "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B", "I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time", "Pennsylvania Polka", "Victory Polka"
- Sophie Tucker - "The Bigger the Army and the Navy" and "Some of These Day"
- Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan - "Kittens With Their Mittens Laced"
- Jeanette MacDonald - "Beyond the Blue Horizon" and "I'll See You in My Dreams"
- Orson Welles - performs a magic show including sawing Marlene Dietrich in half
- Dinah Shore - "I'll Get By", "I Walk Alone", "Mad About Him Blues"
- Arthur Rubenstein - performs "Liebestraum No. 3 (A Dream of Love)"
- Louis Jordan - "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (Ma' Baby", and "Sweet Georgia Brown", with Raft performing the charleston
- W.C. Fields - performs a comedy routine involving a billiard table
- Carmen Amaya - "Merriment"
- the Delta Rhythm Boys
- Gautier's performing dogs
- Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra - "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot " and "Besame Mucho"
- Ted Lewis - "Good Night"
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 109
- Follow the Boys at Maria Montez Fan Page
- Deschner, Donald (1966). The Films of W.C. Fields. New York: Cadillac Publishing by arrangement with The Citadel Press. p. 164. Introduction by Arthur Knight
- Special to The New York Times. (1943, Jun 14). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/106592047?accountid=13902
- Special to The New York Times. (1943, Jul 16). Russell wade, former extra at RKO, gets his first lead in 'ghost ship' -- two films open today. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/106710185?accountid=13902
- THE GREAT MAN IS BACK. (1944, Apr 02). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/106794234?accountid=13902
- Review 1 -- No Title By BOSLEY CROWTHER. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]26 Apr 1944: 24.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-30.