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Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe

Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe(1945)


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Several contemporary and modern sources refer to this film as Diamond Horseshoe. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, entertainment entrepreneur Billy Rose sold Twentieth Century-Fox the rights to use the name of his famed nightclub, The Diamond Horseshoe, for this film for $75,000. Rose (1899-1966) began his career as a lyricist, then became a successful producer of Broadway plays in 1930. Rose also owned and operated several theaters and restaurants. The legal files note that Rose agreed to act as consultant on the picture, and the studio was allowed to use any costume sketches, production designs, scripts of shows, dance routines and musical compositions that were featured in the nightclub, as well as to recreate the nightclub itself. The legal records indicate that Rose had also negotiated with independent producer Jack H. Skirball for the rights, but decided to sell to Twentieth Century-Fox upon receiving written assurances that William Perlberg would produce the picture, George Seaton would write it and Betty Grable would star in it. The film marked Seaton's directorial debut. Although a October 25, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item mentioned a "possibility of Rose himself playing in the film," Rose does not appear in the picture, nor does an actor portray him. Several times during the film, characters mention that Rose is out of town working on other projects.
       Although a July 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that "fifteen-year-old lyric soprano" Hazel Dawn [later known as Hazel Dawn, Jr.] had been signed for a "featured role," her appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. In addition to the songs listed above, "The Old and the New Way" production number includes portions of the following songs: "Sleep, Baby, Sleep," "Shoo-Shoo Baby," "Mairzy Doats" and "Flat Foot Floogie (with the Floy Floy)." An August 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that "My Heart Is Young," a song written by actress Beatrice Kay and her husband, Sylvan Green, would be sung in the picture, but it does not appear in the finished film. Songwriter Harry Warren was borrowed from M-G-M for the production, which marked Grable's return to the screen after a one-year maternity leave. According to a May 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item, Hugh Harman Productions filed a lawsuit alleging "breach of contract and failure to perform" against Twentieth Century-Fox for "repudiating a contract to include an animation sequence" in the picture. The disposition of the suit has not been determined.
       In 1928, First National Pictures produced a film with a musical score and sound effects based on the same source, entitled The Barker, directed by George Fitzmaurice and starring Milton Sills, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Dorothy Mackaill (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0270). In 1934, Fox released Hoop-La, which was also based on John Kenyon Nicholson's play. Hoop-La was directed by Frank Lloyd and starred Clara Bow and Preston Foster (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1986).