Footlight Serenade


1h 20m 1942

Brief Synopsis

Conceited World Champion boxer Tommy Lundy decides to test his popularity in a Broadway show. Tommy always has an eye for the ladies and he starts paying attention to beautiful chorus girl Pat Lambert. Pat's boyfriend Bill Smith isn't impressed with Tommy even though Tommy gets him a boxing part in the show. When Tommy finds out that Pat and Bill were secretly together the night before the show opens, he angrily plans to turn the boxing scene with Bill into a real bout.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Straight Left, Right to the Heart, Strictly Dynamite
Release Date
Aug 1, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Pantages Theater, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,227ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Champion boxer Tommy Lundy, whose nickname is "The Body Beautiful," is as well known for his appeal to women as his prowess in the ring. Comedian Slap convinces Broadway producer Bruce McKay to put on a musical show starring Tommy, who will perform a few numbers and a boxing exhibition. Tommy immediately angers everyone connected with the show with his brash suggestions about lyrics and casting. When Tommy insists that nightclub singer Estelle Evans, whose pedigree is of a higher quality than her singing, be hired for the female lead, McKay has no choice but to comply. More enthusiastic about the show are dancers Pat Lambert and Flo LaVerne, who are hired when Tommy likes Pat's singing. Pat telephones her fiancé, Bill Smith, with the good news and persuades him to come to the theater. While trying to find Pat, Bill winds up in a line of job applicants and is hired as Tommy's sparring partner for the show's boxing exhibition. As rehearsals progress, Tommy, not knowing that Pat is Bill's girl, becomes interested in her and makes her Estelle's understudy. Both Bill and Estelle are jealous of Tommy's interest in Pat, and one afternoon, Bill decides to take action by marrying Pat. Meanwhile, at the theater, Estelle finally tires of Tommy's arrogance and quits the show. When Pat and Bill arrive at the theater, McKay and Slap tell Pat that she will be replacing Estelle. They are horrified to learn of Pat and Bill's marriage, however, for they know of Tommy's crush on Pat. After convincing the reluctant couple to conceal their marriage until after the show has opened, McKay gets the show back on track. The night of the final dress rehearsal, Tommy, who has completely fallen for Pat, convinces her to go out with him, Flo and Bill on a double date. After dinner, Pat inadvertantly leads Tommy to believe that she will marry him after the show opens. Tired of their charade, Pat and Bill decide to spend the night in a hotel, but Estelle sees them check in and tells Tommy before the show starts the next night. Believing that Bill and Pat have taken advantage of him to get into the show, Tommy furiously begins beating Bill during the boxing exhibition. In between blows Bill reveals that Pat has been his wife for over a week, and the surprised Tommy apologizes. Slap enters the ring to get them fighting again, and the crowd goes wild when they both knock Slap out. The show is a smash success, and the marquee lists Mr. and Mrs. Bill Smith as the co-stars.

Film Details

Also Known As
A Straight Left, Right to the Heart, Strictly Dynamite
Release Date
Aug 1, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--Pantages Theater, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,227ft (8 reels)

Quotes

She's closed up more nightclubs than the chief of police!
- Bruce McKay
Will you come into my dressing room? Said the spider to the fly.
- Tommy Lundy
Oh, thank you, Mr. Spider, but I'm very, very shy.
- Pat Lambert

Trivia

the film's choreographer dances with Betty Grable to "Land on Your Feet".

Notes

The working titles of this film were Right to the Heart, A Straight Left and Strictly Dynamite. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Libary indicates that Winston Miller, Russell Rouse and Robert Riley Crutcher worked on versions of the picture's screenplay. Hollywood Reporter news items also note that they were working on the picture, but the extent of their contributions to the released film has not been confirmed. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, executive producer Darryl F. Zanuck briefly considered calling the film That Beautiful Hunk because of the notriety surrounding Victor Mature's having been called "that beautiful hunk of a man" by the press. Zanuck intended to use it as "Tommy Lundy's" nickname even if not as the picture's title, but later changed his mind. In the film, "Tommy" is referrred to as "The Body Beautiful."
       In a February 16, 1942 story conference with Zanuck, Lucille Ball was suggested for the role of "Flo LaVerne," and Hermes Pan for the role of the dance director. Studio publicity noted that Pan had to drop out of the role due to his responsibilities as the film's actual dance director, but he does appear in the film as Betty Grable's dance partner in one sequence. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that Alice Faye was originally scheduled for the lead. Betty Grable replaced her, however, when she temporarily retired from the screen to have a child. Hollywood Reporter also stated that Fred Kohlmar was originally slated to produce the picture, that Jane Wyman was borrowed from Warner Bros., and that some sequences were shot on location at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, CA. Among the song titles listed in the studio files and an Hollywood Reporter news item that were not included in the final picture are: "I Love Champagne," "Land on Your Feet," "Livin' High" and "High on a Western Hill" [which is the title of the movie "Bill" and "Pat" see in the film].
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA rejected a June 12, 1941 version of the script because of "too many details, both in dialogue and in action, referring to the efforts of the musical comedy lead to 'make' the chorus girl, Pat, and the consequent playing up of the deferred consummation of the marriage between Pat and Bill." A February 25, 1942 script was also rejected because of "the flavor of attempted seduction which arises from the relationship between Tommy Lundy and Pat Lambert." The PCA advised the studio to rectify the problem by indicating earlier in the script that "Tommy" wished to marry "Pat." The problem was corrected in the March 4, 1942 screenplay, which was then approved by the PCA. According to the legal records, noted illustrator Varga, as well as Bradshaw Crandell, McClelland Barclay and Earl S. Moran, painted portraits of Betty Grable for "advertising" for Footlight Serenade. The extent of their involvement with the finished film or the promotion of it has not been determined, however. Several reviews noted the similarity between the character "Tommy Lundy" and heavyweight boxer Max Baer, who starred in the 1933 M-G-M film The Prizefighter and the Lady (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.3551).