Too Many Girls (film)

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Too Many Girls
Too Many Girls poster.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Abbott
Screenplay byJohn Twist
Based onToo Many Girls
1939 musical
by George Marion Jr., Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart
Produced byGeorge Abbott[1]
StarringLucille Ball
Richard Carlson
Ann Miller
Eddie Bracken
Frances Langford
Desi Arnaz
Hal Le Roy
CinematographyFrank Redman
Edited byWilliam Hamilton
Music byGeorge Bassman
Richard Rodgers (music)
Lorenz Hart (lyrics)
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • October 8, 1940 (1940-10-08)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States

Too Many Girls is a 1940 American musical comedy film directed by George Abbott, who had also directed the hit Broadway musical on which it was based, which ran for 249 performances.[2][3] The film's screenplay is by John Twist, and it stars Lucille Ball, Richard Carlson, Ann Miller, Eddie Bracken, Frances Langford, Desi Arnaz and Hal Le Roy. It was released on October 8, 1940, by RKO Pictures.[4][5][6] Both Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball credited the production for bringing them together. They married on November 30, 1940, less than two months after the film's release.


Connie Casey (Lucille Ball), an energetic celebrity heiress, wants to go to Pottawatomie College in Stop Gap, New Mexico, her father's alma mater, to be near her latest beau, British playwright Beverly Waverly (Douglas Walton). To protect her, and without her knowledge, her tycoon father (Harry Shannon) sends four Ivy League football players as her bodyguards, Clint Kelly (Richard Carlson), Jojo Jordan (Eddie Bracken), Manuelito (Desi Arnaz) and Al Terwilliger (Hal Le Roy), who sign a contract with an "anti-romance" clause.

The college is in bad financial straits and the bodyguards use their salaries to help the college. They also join the college's terrible football team, which immediately becomes one of the best in the country. Clint falls in love with Connie, but when she discovers he is her bodyguard, she decides to go back East. The bodyguards follow her, leaving the team in the lurch. The people of Stop Gap go after them, and they are brought back just in time for the big game. Connie declares her love for Clint, and he leads the team to victory.


Cast notes:

  • Desi Arnaz, Eddie Bracken, Hal LeRoy, Libby Bennett, Ivy Scott, Byron Shores and Van Johnson all also appeared in the Broadway musical the film is based on, playing the same characters. It was the Broadway debut for all of them except LeRoy.[3][1]
  • During the course of filming, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz fell in love. They eloped on November 30, 1940.[1]


RKO paid $100,000 for the rights to the Broadway musical. Filming on Too Many Girls began on June 22, 1940.


The songs in Too Many Girls were all written by Richard Rodgers, who composed the music, and Lorenz Hart, who wrote the lyrics. The songs are:[1]

All the songs also appeared in the Broadway musical, except for "You're Nearer". Songs that were used in the stage musical and not used in the film were "Tempt Me Not", "My Prince", "I Like to Recognize the Tune", "The Sweethearts of the Team", "She Could Shake the Maracas", "Too Many Girls", and "Give it Back to the Indians".[7]

Critical response[edit]

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that Too Many Girls was a "pleasant, light-hearted and wholly ingenuous campus film" but that director George Abbot "has permitted it to sag in the middle, at which point the thin spots baldly show." He complained that some of the dance numbers looked dark and gloomy. "If the intention was to be impressive, it has failed. For 'Too Many Girls' is a simple, conventional rah-rah picture, without any place for pretense. And there is not enough to it, on the whole, for Mr. Abbott to squander dancers recklessly."[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Too Many Girls at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ Green, Stanley (1999) Hollywood Musicals Year by Year (2nd ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0-634-00765-3 p.99
  3. ^ a b "Too Many Girls" Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ Staff. "Too Many Girls (1940) - Overview". Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (November 21, 1940). "The Screen in Review: 'Too Many Girls' Makes Appearance at Loew's Criterion". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  6. ^ Staff. "Too Many Girls Trailer, Reviews and Schedule for Too Many Girls". TV Guide. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  7. ^ "Too Many Girls: Songs" Internet Broadway Database

External links[edit]