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George White's Scandals

George White's Scandals(1945)

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teaser George White's Scandals (1945)

George White's Scandals (1945) was the third and final movie to be based on the New York stage revue of the same name, which was formed by burlesque producer George White in 1919 with a new incarnation every year. In 1934, Twentieth Century-Fox brought White and singer Rudy Vallee to Hollywood to make a movie version, also called George White's Scandals (1934). That film ended up making a star of Alice Faye, who had appeared in the stage show and got the role - her movie debut - by pure luck when the original leading lady bowed out. One year later, White and Fox collaborated on a sequel, George White's 1935 Scandals (1935), which again starred Faye and a large cast of musical and variety performers. Like the first, it was written, produced and directed by George White himself, though others also contributed in those departments (some uncredited).

A decade later, White was able to mount a third film, this time at RKO and therefore without Alice Faye, who was still under contract to Fox. Like the first two, this 1945 edition makes due with a minimal plot, functioning instead as a sketchy framework to enable lots of musical numbers to be delivered in the style of a revue. There are, in fact, twelve production numbers here of all kinds, including a comic skit entitled "Who Killed Vaudeville?" which Variety deemed "uproarious," a ballet number called "Bouquet and Lace," and several more modern songs performed by famed drummer Gene Krupa and his band, like "Bolero in the Jungle," "Leave Us Leap," and "I Want to be a Drummer in the Band."

Toplining the cast are Jack Haley and Joan Davis. Haley was a popular comic star, particularly in vaudeville, and is best known to movie fans as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Davis, virtually forgotten today, was a very well-liked comedienne of the 1940s and '50s on radio, film and television. Her real-life daughter Beverly Wills, age twelve, portrays a child version of Davis's character in this film, in "Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries." That number had been featured in White's 1931 edition of his stage show and as such, it provides something of an interesting look into the Scandals' past.

Look for Jane Greer in only her second credited film. She's billed as "Bettejane Greer." Starting with her next assignment, Dick Tracy (1945), she would go by "Jane Greer."

Aside from Jack Haley, there's another Wizard of Oz veteran in the cast, too: Margaret Hamilton. The Wicked Witch herself is here memorably told at one point, "There's a limit to how much of your type of beauty a man can stand, and I'm rapidly reaching the limit."

Producer: George White
Director: Felix E. Feist
Screenplay: Howard Green, Peter Levy; Howard Snyder, Hugh Wedlock (both story)
Cinematography: Robert de Grasse
Art Direction: Ralph Berger, Albert S. D'Agostino
Film Editing: Joseph Noriega
Cast: Joan Davis (Joan Mason), Jack Haley (Jack Evans), Phillip Terry (Tom McGrath), Martha Holliday (Jill Martin), Ethel Smith (swing organist), Margaret Hamilton (Clarabelle Evans), Glenn Tryon (George White), Bettejane Greer (Billie Randall), Audrey Young (Maxine Manner), Rose Murphy (Hilda, Joan's maid), Fritz Feld (Montescu).

by Jeremy Arnold

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