Hi Diddle Diddle


1h 12m 1943

Brief Synopsis

When the bride's mother is supposedly swindled out of her money by a spurned suitor, the groom's father orchestrates a scheme of his own to set things right. He is aided by a cabaret singer, while placating a jealous wife.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 20, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Andrew Stone Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,584ft

Synopsis

When Janie Prescott's wedding to sailor Sonny Phyffe is delayed because his ship has not yet docked, the wedding ceremony is combined with a christening to accommodate the pastor's schedule. Sonny's father Hector, a lovable swindler, steals a corsage that was intended for his wife, temperamental opera singer Genya Smetana, unaware that the gift from her opera company also included a diamond clip. When Sonny finally arrives on his forty-eight-hour leave, Hector gives him the corsage as a present for Janie, but the wedding is again postponed when Mrs. Prescott announces that Janie's former suitor, wealthy Peter Warrington III, sunk all her money into shaky investments and at the roulette wheel at the 59 Club, and that she is now broke. Despite Peter's deliberate attempts to sabotage Janie's marriage, the wedding proceeds after Sonny, who is not interested in Janie's inheritance, takes up his father's offer to help Mrs. Prescott regain her fortune. Hector arranges with 59 Club singer Leslie Quayle and her boyfriend to "fix" the roulette tables in their favor. Sonny and Janie are about to leave for their honeymoon when Hector insists that Sonny accompany him to the club. There Hector lures his straight-arrow son into gambling, and Sonny and the croupier are astonished by his repeated wins. Hoping again to disillusion Janie, who believes that Sonny is on a government mission, Peter brings Janie, Mrs. Prescott, and Mrs. Prescott's friend, Senator Simpson, to the club. Hector splits the roulette winnings with Leslie, but is then hard-pressed to explain to Genya, who has just walked in, why he is kissing the singer. To allay Genya's suspicions, Leslie and Hector pretend that Sonny, who Genya does not know is her step-son, has just married Leslie. Janie is then astonished to see her new husband dancing with the singer. The confusion mounts when Genya's impresario identifies Janie's diamond clip as the one intended for her, and Genya believes that Janie has married Hector. Hector momentarily distracts Genya by asking the band to play a selection from Genya's favorite opera, Wagner's Tannhäuser . Before they are able to continue their honeymoon, Janie is called on business as an air-raid warden, and Sonny spends the remainder of his wedding night sleeping on the couch. Hector, meanwhile, schemes with Leslie and Eddie to swindle Peter by tricking him into buying worthless stock at an exaggerated price. When Janie returns to Hector's apartment, Sonny leaves and, having read the fake Wall Street Journal provided by Hector, goes along with Hector to the bank to sell the worthless shares, thereby becoming an unwitting accomplice in his father's swindle. Hector then returns to his apartment, and discovers that Janie has moved in, because she mistakenly believes that he was providing the place for her and Sonny as a wedding gift. Genya, who intends to leave Hector, finally learns that he is older than he told her and has an adult son who has married Janie. Mrs. Prescott and Peter then arrive and tell the couple that Mrs. Prescott never lost her fortune but pretended she did in order to test Sonny's sincerity. Peter and Leslie then confirm that the confused bank manager where they transacted the phony stock purchase bought the shares himself. Sonny gives his father the money he got for the shares and finally runs into Janie as he is leaving the building. The newlyweds return to the Prescott home, where the maid, Florrie, suggests that they spend the rest of their honeymoon in Janie's apartment. When the Senator arrives with a new commission for which Sonny would have to leave immediately, Florrie tells him that the couple went out of town, and the newlyweds spend their remaining hours uninterrupted. All of the new acquaintances gather together in Hector and Genya's apartment and sing Wagnerian operas. The cacophany drives Hector to drink, and he is astonished when the characters in Genya's tapestry, which depicts a Wagnerian opera, come to life and flee from the noise.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 20, 1943
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Andrew Stone Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,584ft

Award Nominations

Best Score

1943

Articles

Martha Scott, 1914-2003


Martha Scott, the actress who originated the role of Emily Webb in the stage and film versions of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning Our Town died on May 28 at a hospital in Van Nuys, California due to natural causes. She was 88.

Martha Ellen Scott was born in Jamesport, Missouri on September 24, 1914, and raised in Kansas City, where a high school teacher encouraged her interest in acting. She majored in drama at the University of Michigan and after graduation, she joined The Globe Theatre Troupe, a stock company that performed truncated Shakespeare at the Chicago World's Fair in between 1933-34. She went to New York soon after and found work in radio and stock before playing making her breakthrough as Emily Webb in Our Town. When the play opened on Broadway in February 1938, Scott received glowing reviews in the pivotal role of Emily, the wistful girl-next-door in Grovers Corners, New Hampshire, who marries her high school sweetheart, dies in pregnancy and gets to relive a single day back on Earth. Her stage success brought her to Hollywood, where she continued her role in Sam Wood's film adaptation of Out Town (1940). Scott received an Academy Award nomination for best actress and was immediately hailed as the year's new female discovery.

She gave nicely understated performances in her next few films: as Jane Peyton Howard in Frank Lloyd's historical The Howards of Virginia (1940), opposite Cary Grant; the dedicated school teacher in Tay Garnett's Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) in which she aged convincingly from 17 to 85; and as a devoted wife to preacher Frederic March in Irving Rapper's warm family drama One Foot in Heaven (1941). Sadly, Scott's maturity and sensitivity ran against the glamour-girl persona that was popular in the '40s (best embodied by stars like Lana Turner and Veronica Lake) and her film appearances were few and far between for the remainder of the decade.

Her fortunes brightened in the '50s, when she found roles in major productions, such as a suburban wife trapped in her home by fugitives, led by Humphrey Bogart, in William Wyler's taut The Desperate Hours (1955) and played Charlton Heston's mother in the Cecil B. Demille's The Ten Commandments (1956) and again for William Wyler in Ben-Hur (1959). Scott found steady work for the next 30 years in matronly roles, most notably on television, where she played Bob Newhart's mother on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) and the mother of Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas (1978-1991). Her second husband, pianist and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mel Powell, died in 1998. Survivors include a son and two daughters.

by Michael T. Toole
Martha Scott, 1914-2003

Martha Scott, 1914-2003

Martha Scott, the actress who originated the role of Emily Webb in the stage and film versions of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning Our Town died on May 28 at a hospital in Van Nuys, California due to natural causes. She was 88. Martha Ellen Scott was born in Jamesport, Missouri on September 24, 1914, and raised in Kansas City, where a high school teacher encouraged her interest in acting. She majored in drama at the University of Michigan and after graduation, she joined The Globe Theatre Troupe, a stock company that performed truncated Shakespeare at the Chicago World's Fair in between 1933-34. She went to New York soon after and found work in radio and stock before playing making her breakthrough as Emily Webb in Our Town. When the play opened on Broadway in February 1938, Scott received glowing reviews in the pivotal role of Emily, the wistful girl-next-door in Grovers Corners, New Hampshire, who marries her high school sweetheart, dies in pregnancy and gets to relive a single day back on Earth. Her stage success brought her to Hollywood, where she continued her role in Sam Wood's film adaptation of Out Town (1940). Scott received an Academy Award nomination for best actress and was immediately hailed as the year's new female discovery. She gave nicely understated performances in her next few films: as Jane Peyton Howard in Frank Lloyd's historical The Howards of Virginia (1940), opposite Cary Grant; the dedicated school teacher in Tay Garnett's Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) in which she aged convincingly from 17 to 85; and as a devoted wife to preacher Frederic March in Irving Rapper's warm family drama One Foot in Heaven (1941). Sadly, Scott's maturity and sensitivity ran against the glamour-girl persona that was popular in the '40s (best embodied by stars like Lana Turner and Veronica Lake) and her film appearances were few and far between for the remainder of the decade. Her fortunes brightened in the '50s, when she found roles in major productions, such as a suburban wife trapped in her home by fugitives, led by Humphrey Bogart, in William Wyler's taut The Desperate Hours (1955) and played Charlton Heston's mother in the Cecil B. Demille's The Ten Commandments (1956) and again for William Wyler in Ben-Hur (1959). Scott found steady work for the next 30 years in matronly roles, most notably on television, where she played Bob Newhart's mother on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) and the mother of Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas (1978-1991). Her second husband, pianist and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mel Powell, died in 1998. Survivors include a son and two daughters. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

You know, I've seen that girl somewhere before.
- Senator Simpson
She's a very particular friend of the director who's making this picture. He sticks her in every scene he can.
- Liza Prescott
Mother, shh! Somebody might hear you.
- Janie Prescott

Trivia

Notes

Contemporary news items add the following information about the production: Lupe Velez was originally cast as a burlesque queen, but withdrew from the film. The part was changed to a nightclub singer when Constance Bennett was cast. Bennett dropped out of the picture, however, after disputes with producer Andrew Stone over her billing and after Stone insisted that her singing voice be dubbed. Edward Everett Horton was announced for a leading role, and a Los Angeles Times article reported that Brian Donlevy was cast, but neither appear in the film. This marks Pola Negri's first appearance in an American film since she starred in the 1932 RKO film A Woman Commands (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.5163). Negri's next appearance in a film was not until 1964 in The Moon-Spinners. Hi Diddle Diddle was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture).