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The Gang's All Here

The Gang's All Here(1943)

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The working title of this film was The Girls He Left Behind. According to a January 7, 1943 news item, composer Harry Warren was originally scheduled to work with lyricist Mack Gordon on the film's score, but Warren instead wrote the picture's songs with Leo Robin. A March 30, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item included "Pickin' on Your Momma" in the list of songs to be featured in the film. Modern sources note that the song, along with "Sleepy Moon" and "Drums and Dreams" were cut before the final release. According to Hollywood Reporter news items and a studio press release, Linda Darnell was originally scheduled to play "Vivian Potter," which would have been her first dancing role in motion pictures. During dance rehearsals, however, Darnell sprained her ankle, and after her recovery, eloped with cinematographer Peverell Marley and asked Twentieth Century-Fox for an indefinite leave of absence. Darnell was replaced in the role by Sheila Ryan.
       Although Alice Faye did have a singing cameo in the 1944 film Four Jills and a Jeep, this picture marked her last appearance in a musical film until the 1962 version of State Fair. Faye, who was pregnant with her second child during filming of The Gang's All Here, retired from the screen and only made one additional film, the 1945 drama Fallen Angel until 1962. The Gang's All Here marked the screen debuts of actresses June Haver (1926-2005), Jeanne Crain and Jo Carroll Dennison, who was Miss America of 1942. According to a 1944 Los Angeles Times article, the film was to include a take-off on Phil Baker's popular radio show, "Take It or Leave It." The sequence was cut, and Baker instead made an entire film based on the show, called Take It or Leave It, for Twentieth Century-Fox (see below). Director Busby Berkeley was borrowed from M-G-M for The Gang's All Here, although by the time additional scenes were shot in late September 1943, M-G-M had assigned his contract to Warner Bros.
       The Gang's All Here was the first color film directed by Berkeley (although he did do the choreography for the 1930 two-strip Technicolor film Whoopee), and the extravagant production numbers were well received. While praising Berkeley's work, the Motion Picture Herald reviewer commented that the production numbers "are opulent in highly effective color combinations and are climaxed by a finale in the cubistic and modernistic tempo which is different from anything that has passed this reviewer's way since some of the abstract treatments employed by Walt Disney's Fantasia." Although some modern sources indicate that the film was banned in Brazil because of the giant bananas featured in "The Lady with Tutti-Frutti Hat" number, the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contained no information about censorship in Brazil and the film was approved for export to South American countries. The picture received an Academy Award nomination in the Art Direction (Color) category.