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Belles on Their Toes

Belles on Their Toes(1952)

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Before this film's opening title cards, the last page of the book Cheaper by the Dozen is shown, and the book is closed. The book Belles on Their Toes is then shown and opened to reveal the title "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Belles on their Toes the Further Adventures of the Gilbreth Family." Voice-over narration by Myrna Loy, as her character "Dr. Lillian M. Gilbreth," is heard throughout the picture. At the film's end, a brief sequence from Cheaper by the Dozen is shown, in which "Frank," played by Clifton Webb, sings "When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose" with his family. Several other novelty and period songs are briefly featured in the picture, such as "Beans, Beans, Beans" and "Love's Old Sweet Song."
       The film is a sequel to the popular 1950 Twentieth Century-Fox film Cheaper by the Dozen, which also depicted the adventures of the real-life Gilbreth family, whose father and mother, Frank and Lillian, reared twelve children. As shown in the film, after Frank's death, Lillian continued his work in order to keep her family together and eventually became a very successful industrial engineer. For more information about the Gilbreths, please see the entry for Cheaper by the Dozen in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50. Several of the actors, including Myrna Loy, Jeanne Crain and Barbara Bates, reprised their roles from Cheaper by the Dozen. Some of the boys from the original cast, having grown too much to reprise their roles, were recast as older Gilbreth boys, such as Jimmy Hunt, who originally played "William" but played "Fred" in the sequel.
       Although Hollywood Reporter news items include the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed: Jack Boyle, Edward Stoddard, Jacques Kennelly, Boyd Cabeen, Bryan McKay, Ivan Hayes, Michael O'Brien, Carole Nugent, Wesley Bilson, Robert Bowman, Dean Dillman, Jack Downs, Buddy Robinson, Bob Street, Buzz Barbee and Mike Marienthal. J. Farrell MacDonald was included in the cast by a September 7, 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item, but he does not appear in the released picture. According to a August 30, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, director Henry Levin signed the following "old-time stars" to appear in the graduation sequences: Leah Baird, Cleo Ridgely, Gertrude Astor, Stuart Holmes, Richard Neill, Dorothy Phillips, Vada Lee Heilman, Barry Norton, Anne Luther, Arline Pretty, Brooks Benedict, Heinie Conklin, Scott Seaton, Jean Acker, Helen Foster, Lillian West, Ida Pratt, Wilbur Mack, Colin Kenny and Pauline Garon. Their appearance in the released picture also has not been confirmed, however.
       According to studio publicity, the graduation sequences were filmed at Santa Monica High School, and the barbecue sequences were filmed on location at Paradise Cove in Malibu, CA. Although publicity announced that the songs "Watermelon Weather" by Hoagy Carmichael and Paul Webster and "Monterey" by Carmichael and John Scott would be in the picture, they were not included in the released film. According to a June 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, theater managers in the midwest offered patrons a "money-back guarantee" on their enjoyment of Belles on Their Toes, and the publicity stunt substantially raised the picture's box-office intake and thereafter was used at other venues. The picture marked the first onscreen credit of dance director Angie Blue.