Incendiary Blonde


1h 53m 1945
Incendiary Blonde

Brief Synopsis

In this true story, Texas Guinan rises from Wild West shows to become New York's "Queen of the Nightclubs" during Prohibition.

Film Details

Also Known As
Texas Guinan, The Life of Texas Guinan, The Smoothest Gal in Town
Genre
Musical
Biography
Release Date
Aug 31, 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Jul 1945
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Tucson, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,170ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

At the New York parade in memory of the death of legendary performer Texas Guinan, Texas's father Mike, and former husband Tim Callahan, recall when Texas first ran away from her family in 1909 to join a Wild West Show: On 12 Sep 1909, while Mike is preoccupied with buying Texas potato futures in the hope of cornering the market, his tomboy daughter Texas attends Cherokee Jim's Wild West Show with her mother and siblings. Texas sneaks away and, pretending that she is a male ranch hand, enters a bucking bronco contest. When she realizes the saddle was loosened, Texas demands a second try and wins the contest. She is then offered a job in the show by Romero Kilgannon, whom she calls "Bill," who recently won proprietorship of the rodeo in a card game. After the potato crops are ruined due to an early frost, Mike stands to lose the family home, so Texas joins the rodeo and sends her income home. Texas soon becomes the highlight of the Wild West Show, and after she surprises and delights an audience by saving an infant from sure death under a wagon, Bill headlines Texas and doubles her salary. When journalist Tim Callahan discovers that Texas' rescue was phony, as the "infant" was actually an adult midget, he convinces Bill to hire him as the show's press agent by threatening to leak their secret to the public. Although Tim falls in love with Texas, she is in love with Bill, who, unknown to her, is bound to an institutionalized wife. Texas leaves the show when she learns that Bill is married and marries Tim, who instigates her Broadway career. Although Texas starts out as a chorus girl, she is soon made a featured performer with the Ballinger stage show. Tim is frustrated with his own stagnating career, and leaves Texas when he realizes her heart still belongs to Bill. Some time later, Texas' family moves in with her, and Cherokee Jim visits Texas in New York and tells her the truth about Bill's wife. Texas breaks her contract with Ballinger in order to join Bill in Hollywood, where he is making Western motion pictures. Texas invests in Bill's studio, and plans to wait for him until he is free. After Bill's wife dies, his romance with Texas meets with another obstacle, as her father's phony stock is being investigated by a district attorney. In order to protect Texas from fraud charges, Bill buys her and Mike's shares in the company, and she assumes that his affection for her is purely mercenary. Heartbroken, Texas returns to New York, unaware that Bill has narrowly escaped arrest on her behalf. By chance, Bill meets his old friend Joe Cadden, a liquor racketeer, who hires him to be his front man. As Ballinger has blacklisted Texas for breaking her contract, she is unable to find work, but Tim inspires her to bring Nick the Greek's failing nightclub back to life by throwing a farewell party for gossip columnist Louella Parsons and charging patrons. At first, the patrons resist paying for their pleasure, but are so delighted by Texas' performance that the evening becomes a hit, and the newspapers dub Texas the "incendiary blonde." Later, Cadden and his thugs beat up Nick until he agrees to sell the nightclub, and Texas switches her contract to Cadden after he buckles to her demand of an exorbitant salary and renames the club "Texas Guinan's." However, Texas refuses to have anything to do with Bill. One night, Cadden rousts rival gangsters, Gus and Charley Vettori, from the club, and they vow retribution. One day during rehearsals, the Vettori brothers make good on their promise and try to kill Texas at the nightclub, but Bill saves her life. Mike finally tells Texas how Bill saved them from arrest, and she and Bill reunite. Cadden is murdered by the Vettori brothers, but Bill and Texas refuse to allow them to take over the nightclub. Not long after, Texas learns that a heart condition will take her life in a couple of years, thereby confirming her lifelong belief that she would die young. Unaware of Texas' condition, Bill plans their wedding on New Year's Eve, but the Vettori brothers hold the Guinans hostage and he is forced to kill the gangsters in self-defense. Although Bill is wounded during the gunfight, he recovers and is arrested for murder. Bill refuses to marry Texas until he is released from prison. Realizing that she will die before marrying, Texas reflects on her full life.

Cast

Betty Hutton

Texas Guinan

Arturo De Cordoba

Bill Romero Kilgannon

Charles Ruggles

Cherokee Jim

Albert Dekker

[Joe] Cadden

Barry Fitzgerald

Mike Guinan

Mary Phillips

Bessie Guinan

Bill Goodwin

Tim Callahan

Edward Ciannelli

Nick the Greek

The Maxellos

Maurice Rocco

Waiter-pianist

Ted Mapes

Waco Smith

Charles C. Wilson

Mr. Ballinger

Maxine Fife

Pearl Guinan, 21 years

Carlotta Jelm

Pearl Guinan, 17 years

Ann Carter

Pearl Guinan, 7 years

Billy Lechner

Tommy Guinan, 19 years

Eddie Nichols

Tommy Guinan, 15 years

George Nokes

Tommy Guinan, 5 years

Robert Winkler

Willie Guinan

Patricia Prest

Texas Guinan, 9 years

Billy Curtis

Baby Joe

Edmund Macdonald

Charley Vettori

Don Costello

Gus Vettori

Erville Alderson

Ranch owner

Fred Kelsey

Ranch owner

Francis Ford

Ranch owner

Pat West

Bartender

Matt Mchugh

O'keefe

Russell Simpson

Jenkins

Arthur Loft

McKee

Andrew Tombes

Hadley

Pierre Watkin

Otto Hammel

James Millican

Hector

William B. Davidson

Businessman

Edwin Stanley

Mr. Zweigler

George H. Lloyd

Bartender

Dewey Robinson

Proprietor of speakeasy

Etta Mcdaniel

Maid

Ray Walker

Gus, stage manager

William Haade

Mug

Patricia Farr

Receptionist

Harry Hayden

Horace Biggs

Frank Faylen

Hotel clerk

Chuck Hamilton

Cab driver

Olin Howlin

Interior decorator

Charles Sullivan

Cadden's bodyguard

Jimmie Dundee

Cadden's bodyguard

Weldon Heyburn

Young man

George Mckay

Master of ceremonies

Allen Ray

Assistant interior decorator

Stan Johnson

Assistant interior decorator

Catherine Craig

Louella Parsons

Betty Walker

Cigarette girl

Lucy Knoch

Check girl

John Indrisano

Rinaldo bodyguard

Al Hill

Rinaldo bodyguard

Frank Marlowe

Rinaldo bodyguard

Ted Rand

Rinaldo bodyguard

Alphonse Martell

Headwaiter

Garry Owen

Dance director

John Harmon

Joe College

George Chandler

Rancher

Hector V. Sarno

Rancher

Ed Peil Sr.

Rancher

Bud Jamison

Head bartender

Tom Fadden

Farmer

Lou Davis

Clown

Billy Bletcher

Clown

Syd Saylor

Clown

Antonio Filauri

Proprietor Montana café

Jane Jones

Specialty singer

Roscoe T. Ward

Policeman

Dick Rush

Policeman

Charles Mcmurphy

Policeman

Bud Harrison

Policeman

Jack Ryan

Policeman

Tony Paton

Gangster

Billy Engle

Vendor

Frank Hubert

Drunk

Johnnie Johnston

Singer

Lawrence Lathrop

Page boy

Lee Murray

Page boy

Muriel Barr

Pretty blonde

John Hamilton

Justice of the peace

Harry Harvey Jr.

Rough-looking newsboy

Lane Chandler

Mounted policeman

James Flavin

Mounted policeman

Roy Gordon

Well dressed man

Howard Mitchell

Well dressed man

Harry Shannon

George

Mira Mckinney

Nurse

Emmett Vogan

Doctor

Lyle Latell

New Yorker

Ralph Peters

Member of orchestra

Ray Turner

Waiter

Leota Lorraine

Sam Flint

Jack Luden

Ruth Roman

Davison Clark

Film Details

Also Known As
Texas Guinan, The Life of Texas Guinan, The Smoothest Gal in Town
Genre
Musical
Biography
Release Date
Aug 31, 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Jul 1945
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Tucson, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,170ft (12 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Score

1945

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were The Smoothest Gal in Town, The Life of Texas Guinan and Texas Guinan. The film opens with the following written foreword: "This picture was inspired by the life of one of the immortals of show business, Texas Guinan, queen of the night clubs. She hit Broadway like a skyrocket, dazzled it briefly with a million-dollar personality, and then died, as she had often foretold, at the height of her career." According to a New York Times article, Guinan's family contributed the family archive of news clippings to Paramount for background research. Publicity materials in copyright records indicate that Betty Hutton's mother, Mabel Adams, was given a bit part in the picture, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items reported the following information about the production: Producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. purchased the screen rights to Texas Guinan's life in 1939, and was considering writer Gene Fowler for the script. No information has been found on the sale of Guinan's life story to Paramount, however. Robert Sisk was originally listed as producer of the Paramount production, but left the studio in 1942. Alan Ladd was first cast as "Kilgannon," but was inducted into the Army. Paramount then sought Warner Bros. actor Humphrey Bogart for the lead, and following that, cast Brian Donlevy. Donlevy was placed on suspension for refusing the role, however. Charles Quigley was also tested for the lead. New York dancers Johnny Coy, Frederick Nay and John Deauville were cast for special dance routines, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. This film marks jazz pianist Maurice Rocco's feature film debut. Some scenes were shot on location in Tucson, AZ.
       Texas Guinan (1884-1933), born Mary Louise Cecilia Guinan, in Waco, TX, started out in wild west shows and worked her way to Broadway. She became renowned during the Prohibition era as a hostess of New York speakeasies who used the phrase, "Hello, suckers!" Guinan also appeared in the following two films: Warner Bros.' 1929 film Queen of the Nightclubs, directed by Bryan Foy, in which Guinan was the star, and Twentieth Century Picture Corp.'s 1933 film Broadway Thru a Keyhole, directed by Lowell Sherman and starring Constance Cummings and Paul Kelly. (For further information on the films, see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4394 and AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.00506.) According to modern sources, Southern critics and audiences protested the casting of Mexican actor Arturo de Cordova, because William Kilgannon was actually Irish, not Mexican-Irish, as portrayed in the film. Incendiary Blonde was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture).