Cast & Crew
As U.S. Navy Captain Payne warns his men about the girls of Paris, which they are about to visit on a five-day leave, a ladies' garter blows out of an airplane overhead and falls onto the ship. Later, in Montmartre, some of the sailors meet Edward Arthur Tankersley, an American guide known as "Tank," who takes them to see the Folies Parisienne Revue starring the well-known dancer Gaby Aimee. When the sailors realize, as they closely watch Gaby's dance, that the garter is hers, they argue about who will get the opportunity to return it. While Captain Payne visits Gaby and reminds her of their romance years earlier in Buenos Aires, Tank suggests that the men hold a lottery and pool their money so that the winner can properly woo Gaby. Because the sailor who wins, Cadet Frank Harrington, is the least interested or experienced, Tank hires Patty, a Canadian chorus girl, to rehearse him. Tank's plan of attack is for Frank to return the garter and to tell Gaby that he loves her; next, for Frank to have lunch with her and kiss her; and finally, for him to be invited to her villa for a midnight supper. After rehearsals with Patty, Frank, convinced that he represents the honor of the ship, brings Gaby flowers and returns the garter. He then woodenly says that he loves her. Because Gaby has a luncheon date with Russian Prince Midanoff, Tank arranges for Patty to distract the prince. Attracted to Patty, Midanoff breaks his luncheon date. Gaby then agrees to join Frank, and after lunch, during which she sees the prince with Patty, Frank kisses her, whereupon she threatens to call the gendarmes if he annoys her again. When Frank brags about the kiss to the sailors, Patty is hurt. They insist that he act out what happened with Patty, and his passionate kiss, unlike the one he gave Gaby, pleases the sailors, while it disturbs Patty. On their final day of leave, Frank confesses what really happened to Tank, who then convinces Gaby to invite Frank to a midnight supper for the fun of it. That afternoon, Frank and Patty visit the Eiffel Tower, where she reveals, to his discomfort, that Tank has arranged for her to spend the evening with the prince so that he does not interfere with Gaby. After they learn that they are each from Sault Ste. Marie, Frank from the U.S. side and Patty from the Canadian, they kiss as the sun sets. That night, Patty visits Gaby and asks that she not go through with the evening. To prove that Frank loves her, Gaby puts Patty in an adjoining room to listen when Frank arrives, but after he does not respond romantically, she leaves him with Patty. Frank and Patty spend the evening together, as do Gaby and Captain Payne, while the prince and Tank get drunk and attempt some Russian dances. Late that night, the sailors brag to some French soldiers about Frank's supposed conquest, and the Frenchmen challenge the Americans to a duel at dawn. During the duel, Frank admits that he was with Patty, not Gaby, and when the gendarmes arrive, the duel quickly turns into an exhibition of sword dancing. At the railroad station, the captain kisses Gaby on behalf of the soldiers, and Frank gives Patty a ticket to Sault Ste. Marie as they plan to meet there.
Richard (tex) Brodus
Robert Du Couedic
Duke R. Lee
S. N. Behrman
Siegfried M. Herzig
Edward T. Lowe Jr.
George Marion Jr.
The film's working titles were Love Can Be Fun and Weak in Paris. Although Hollywood Reporter stated that "the stage hit Sailor Beware [New York opening: 28 September 1933] May have inadvertently sired the original idea [for this film]," there is no information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department or their Produced Scripts Collection, both of which are at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, concerning any connection between the film and the play. According to the legal records, in May 1933, before Fox bought the motion picture rights to the story by Siegfried M. Herzig and Maurice Hanline, Franz Schulz, a German director, notified Fox that he had started preparatory work on a screenplay in which they might be interested if they purchased the story. Although Philip Klein, a Fox writer, advised the studio not to send for Schulz's material, as the studio had already made plans to have S. N. Behrman work on the screenplay, Fox subsequently based the film on a screenplay written in German by Schulz, Billie Wilder and Hanns Schwartz. Jerome Lachenbruck provided the English translation of this screenplay. According to the legal records, Gertrude Purcell read the script and was involved in some conferences, but did no actual writing.
According to a Hollywood Reporter news item in December 1933, Paul Martin was originally scheduled to direct. Hanns Schwartz, a former Ufa director, subsequently was set to make his American directorial debut, and the film was originally scheduled to begin in June 1934, but production was set back after Lilian Harvey, who was scheduled for the female lead, walked out of Fox's Serenade, which was released as Love Time (see below). She was subsequently replaced in this film by Pat Paterson. The film's start date was further set back because of the prolonged illness of Schwartz after an appendectomy. According to information in the legal records and in a Hollywood Reporter news item, Ned Sparks was originally signed to play the role of "Tank." In a pre-production screenplay, Frank Morgan was listed for the role of "Captain Payne"; it is not known if this was only a suggestion, or if Morgan was actually scheduled for the role. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item and a listing in the 1935 Film Daily Year Book, Gorney and Hartman wrote four songs for the film, but the song "All for the Love of a Girl" was not in the final film and was not copyrighted.
This marked the feature film debut of Walter King, who earlier was known as Walter Woolf, and Peggy Fears, and the American film debut of William Thiele, who replaced Schwartz as director. King, according to Motion Picture Herald, was a "graduate of the metropolitan vaudeville and musical comedy stage," while Fears was a "noted New York actress and producer and stylist." Motion Picture Herald commented that Thiele was "noted on the Continent for musical productions of this character." A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Sidney Winters was to be in the cast, but no further information concerning that actor's participation in the film has been located. According to modern sources, Wilder got the writing assignment from Thiele, who was a Viennese Jewish refugee and whose first name in Germany was Wilhelm. This, however, May be inaccurate, as Wilder and Schulz wrote a screenplay before Thiele replaced Schwartz. According to the legal records, Twentieth Century-Fox had a number of writers work on a possible remake of this film in 1952, but the remake was never produced.