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Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras(1958)

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The Variety review misnames several of the film's characters. According to a March 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, the studio was considering Shirley Jones for a lead role and Henry Levin as director. A June 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that Jill St. John was up for one of the leads. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart places June Blair and Joan Lowe in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A October 9, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, printed before the film's release, states that the song "A Fiddle and a Rifle" was to be cut from the film because it featured Pat Boone singing to a group of African-American shoeshine boys. The studio feared that white Southerners might resent the scene as a plug for integration and that the NAACP would charge that it depicted African Americans as menials. The song did appear in the released version, but was sung over a montage of images of the Mardi Gras parade.
       n October 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that the entire film was to be re-recorded because the original scoring was done in Mexico during a strike of the American Federation of Musicians. The studio felt that the Mexican musicians did not convey the flavor of Dixieland music, and so decided to re-record both the songs and the background music. For his work on the film, Lionel Newman received an Academy Award in the Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture) category. According to the Variety review, background shots were filmed at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA. Studio publicity contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library adds that Twentieth Century-Fox photographers filmed the VMI band as they marched in the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, LA. The 1938 Warner Bros. film Brother Rat (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40) was also set at VMI.