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HISTORY

The working title of this film was With Flying Colors . All of the actresses who played nurses in Up in Arms are listed collectively onscreen as "The Goldwyn Girls." Danny Kaye's character was based on the character "The Nervous Wreck" from the play of the same name by Owen Davis, which opened in New York in 1923. The play, which bears little resemblance to the film, was in turn based on the 1921 magazine serial The Wreck by Edith J. Rath and Sam H. Harris, which was published as a novel called The Nervous Wreck in 1923. In 1928, Florenz Ziegfeld staged a musical version of Davis' play called Whoopee starring Eddie Cantor.
       Although a Dec 1942 LAEx article states that Samuel Goldwyn hired well-known shorts producer Pete Smith to narrate the film, and a Dec 1943 HR news item confirms that Smith completed the commentary, Knox Manning is credited onscreen as the narrator. Modern sources note that Virginia Mayo, who played a nurse in the film, was considered for the part of "Virginia," but eventually lost the role to popular singer Dinah Shore. Mayo went on, however, to star in Goldwyn's 1944 The Princess and the Pirate (see above), opposite Bob Hope, and other Goldwyn pictures. Although the early HR production charts list John F. Link as the film's editor, the onscreen credits name Daniel Mandell and James Newcom. Although HR news items add Lenore Aubert, Hal K. Dawson, and dancers John Coffey, Walton Walker and John Roche to the cast, their appearance in the film has not ... More Less

The working title of this film was With Flying Colors . All of the actresses who played nurses in Up in Arms are listed collectively onscreen as "The Goldwyn Girls." Danny Kaye's character was based on the character "The Nervous Wreck" from the play of the same name by Owen Davis, which opened in New York in 1923. The play, which bears little resemblance to the film, was in turn based on the 1921 magazine serial The Wreck by Edith J. Rath and Sam H. Harris, which was published as a novel called The Nervous Wreck in 1923. In 1928, Florenz Ziegfeld staged a musical version of Davis' play called Whoopee starring Eddie Cantor.
       Although a Dec 1942 LAEx article states that Samuel Goldwyn hired well-known shorts producer Pete Smith to narrate the film, and a Dec 1943 HR news item confirms that Smith completed the commentary, Knox Manning is credited onscreen as the narrator. Modern sources note that Virginia Mayo, who played a nurse in the film, was considered for the part of "Virginia," but eventually lost the role to popular singer Dinah Shore. Mayo went on, however, to star in Goldwyn's 1944 The Princess and the Pirate (see above), opposite Bob Hope, and other Goldwyn pictures. Although the early HR production charts list John F. Link as the film's editor, the onscreen credits name Daniel Mandell and James Newcom. Although HR news items add Lenore Aubert, Hal K. Dawson, and dancers John Coffey, Walton Walker and John Roche to the cast, their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. According to an Apr 1944 HR article, during production, associate producer Don Hartman sued Goldwyn for allegedly ridiculing him publicly, and then refusing to release him from his contract.
       Up in Arms marked the motion picture debut of Broadway star Danny Kaye (1913--1987), and opened to uniformly rave reviews. In Feb 1944, the NYT reported that the usual recording procedure, in which the entertainer sang his or her song in the studio and then lip-synched on camera, was made far more complicated in this film due to Kaye's complex scatting. The song "Melody in 4F," which was co-written by Kaye's wife, Sylvia Fine, was taken from Kaye's Broadway hit, Let's Face It , and was characteristic of the tongue-twisting numbers that he performed throughout his career. The popular star, who began on Broadway in 1939, had already turned down a contract with M-G-M, when Goldwyn cast him in Up in Arms . After this film made Kaye an international success, he went on to do three more with Goldwyn before moving on to Warner Bros. In his later career, he enjoyed continued success on television, notably with The Danny Kaye Show from 1963-1967. Kaye was also lauded for his charity work, particularly with UNICEF. The film also marked the American film debut of Mexican-born actress Linda Christian.
       The picture's Feb 1944 premiere at Radio City Music Hall benefitted Ann Lehr's Hollywood Guild Canteen, a fund for soliders. The film received Academy Award nominations in the Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture) and Music (Song--"Now I Know") categories. Among the many other screen and television versions of Davis's story are a 1926 Christie Film Company picture called The Nervous Wreck , directed by Scott Sidney and starring Harrison Ford (see AFI Catalog of Feature Film , 1921-30; F2.3799); a 1930 United Artists film Whoopee! , which was based on the musical of the same name, directed by Thornton Freeland and starring Eddie Cantor (see AFI Catalog of Feature Film , 1921-30; F2.6328); and several television productions, including a Musical Comedy Time program broadcast in Oct 1950, starring Johnny Morgan and Nancy Walker, and an Oct 1952 Broadway Television adaptation of the play, which featured Buddy Ebsen.
       HR articles state that Col. Hamilton Templeton, Gunner's Mate 1/c Marvin C. Beck, Navy Capt. Walter Voegler, and the Maritime Commission's D. Harms were hired to act as technical advisors for the film's military sequences. Although a Sep 1943 HR news item announces that Disney would prepare an animated sequence for the film's climax, there is no such sequence in the final film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 Feb 1944.
---
Daily Variety
7 Feb 44
p. 3, 8
Film Daily
7 Feb 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1943.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 44
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 44
p. 4.
Los Angeles Examiner
16 Dec 1943.
---
Motion Picture Daily
11 Jan 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Feb 44
p. 1753.
New York Times
27 Feb 1944.
---
New York Times
3 Mar 44
p. 19.
Variety
5 Feb 44
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
George Mathews
Richard Powers
Rudolf Friml Jr.
and The Goldwyn Girls:
Renee Haal
William Davidson
Oliver Prickett
Eddie Waller
Pete Cusanelli
Francis "Dink" Trout
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
Contr to orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus numbers arr and cond
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged and dir by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the character "The Nervous Wreck" created by Owen Davis.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Now I Know," "Tess' Torch Song" and "All Out for Freedom," words and music by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
"Theater Lobby Number," "Melody in 4-F" and "Jive Number," based on "Tess' Torch Song," words and music by Sylvia Fine and Max Liebman.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
With Flying Colors
Release Date:
1944
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 17 February 1944
Production Date:
late June--late September 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Avalon Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 March 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12594
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
103 or 105-106
Length(in feet):
9,485
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
9782
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At work at the Manhattan Medical Building, hypochondriac elevator operator Danny Weems wreaks havoc by pestering the doctors for medicine and diagnosing all the patients with incurable diseases. Nurse Virginia Merrill tries to attract his attention, but he swoons over another nurse, Mary Morgan, not realizing that she only likes him platonically. That night, the three go on a double date with Danny's roommate, Joe Nelson, and during the evening, Virginia flirts with Danny, who fails to notice that Joe and Mary are falling in love. After the date, Danny learns that he has been drafted and, terrified of the health risks posed by Army life, begs Joe to plead his case at the draft board. When Joe does, howvever, he discovers that he, too, has been drafted, and that both must report to duty. Months later, during basic training, Danny and Joe see Virginia and Mary, now officer nurses in their battalion, but because of their different ranks, it is difficult for them to talk together. They steal away to a carnival, where Danny finds a booth that allows them to record their voices onto an album. Back at the base, fellow soldiers Blackie and Butterball tease Danny about his hypochondria, and Joe begins to fight them in defense of his friend. The brawl stops when they learn that they must sail to a base in the South Pacific in thirty minutes. Danny runs through the busy base to say goodbye to Mary, who is scheduled to stay behind, but when a sergeant almost catches them together, she hides in a supply truck, which is quickly loaded onto the boat. At sea, Mary dresses as a male soldier ... +


At work at the Manhattan Medical Building, hypochondriac elevator operator Danny Weems wreaks havoc by pestering the doctors for medicine and diagnosing all the patients with incurable diseases. Nurse Virginia Merrill tries to attract his attention, but he swoons over another nurse, Mary Morgan, not realizing that she only likes him platonically. That night, the three go on a double date with Danny's roommate, Joe Nelson, and during the evening, Virginia flirts with Danny, who fails to notice that Joe and Mary are falling in love. After the date, Danny learns that he has been drafted and, terrified of the health risks posed by Army life, begs Joe to plead his case at the draft board. When Joe does, howvever, he discovers that he, too, has been drafted, and that both must report to duty. Months later, during basic training, Danny and Joe see Virginia and Mary, now officer nurses in their battalion, but because of their different ranks, it is difficult for them to talk together. They steal away to a carnival, where Danny finds a booth that allows them to record their voices onto an album. Back at the base, fellow soldiers Blackie and Butterball tease Danny about his hypochondria, and Joe begins to fight them in defense of his friend. The brawl stops when they learn that they must sail to a base in the South Pacific in thirty minutes. Danny runs through the busy base to say goodbye to Mary, who is scheduled to stay behind, but when a sergeant almost catches them together, she hides in a supply truck, which is quickly loaded onto the boat. At sea, Mary dresses as a male soldier to avoid being caught on board, while Danny and Joe plan to smuggle her across the boat into the nurses' quarters, where Virginia is staying. Danny sings to distract the men, but Mary only makes it halfway. That night, Danny tries to lead her the rest of the way, but becomes lost, and they mistakenly enter the stateroom of the lead officer, Col. Ashley. Although Ashley sees them, they manage to escape back to Danny's troop's bunk, where Mary hides under his bed. Desperate, Danny then pretends it is morning so his bunkmates will wake and leave the room, and when all the men but Joe are gone, Danny watches as Mary rushes into Joe's arms. The next day, as everyone gossips about Danny's adventure with an unknown woman, a heartbroken Danny confesses everything to Ashley, who prepares to court-martial him. Virginia, thinking that a woman will receive less punishment than a man, tells Ashley that she is the woman in question, and that she snuck into Danny's room out of love and he only tried to protect her. When Ashley releases them both, Danny borrows Blackie's phonograph to play the record from the fair. Blackie catches him and knocks him out, and a semi-conscious Danny, while dreaming about Virginia, confesses to Ashley that he actually smuggled Mary through the boat. When the boat reaches the new base, Danny is put in the brig, but Japanese soldiers kidnap him and bring him to their general. Danny overpowers the general, and, after donning his uniform, inadvertently commands the Japanese soldiers to follow him into a large pit, where they are captured by the American soldiers. Now hailed as a hero, Danny embraces Virginia. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.