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HISTORY

The film's working title was The Wonder Boy . Some sources also referred to it as The Wonder Man . According to a Dec 1943 HR news item, Don Hartman was originally slated to write and associate produce the film, but the onscreen credits only credit him as a co-writer. The film began shooting on 12 Jul 1944 with Karl Struss as director of photography, David Rose as musical director and Perry Ferguson as art director, but production was suspended from 19 Jul to 7 Aug 1944 after Danny Kaye injured his leg during a dance routine. When shooting resumed, Victor Milner took over photography duties along with William Snyder, Louis Forbes became musical director, and Ernst Fegté became art director.
       Wonder Man , which was Vera-Ellen's first film and Danny Kaye's second, opened to excellent reviews. According to the Var review, some of Kaye's material had been used before in his stage shows, but was reworked for the screen by his wife, Sylvia Fine. In Jun 1943, Kaye had submitted the musical number "Anatole of Paris" to the War Department for approval for viewing by men abroad, and at that time, a HR news item reports, it was deemed unacceptable because it depicted a Parisienne in an unflattering light. Other HR news items add Bobby Summers, Gene Collins, Bertha Belmore, Alice Wallace, Grant Mitchell, Helen Chapman, Allan Dodel, Arleen Whelan and Allen Jenkins to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture); Sound Recording; and Music (Song--"So ... More Less

The film's working title was The Wonder Boy . Some sources also referred to it as The Wonder Man . According to a Dec 1943 HR news item, Don Hartman was originally slated to write and associate produce the film, but the onscreen credits only credit him as a co-writer. The film began shooting on 12 Jul 1944 with Karl Struss as director of photography, David Rose as musical director and Perry Ferguson as art director, but production was suspended from 19 Jul to 7 Aug 1944 after Danny Kaye injured his leg during a dance routine. When shooting resumed, Victor Milner took over photography duties along with William Snyder, Louis Forbes became musical director, and Ernst Fegté became art director.
       Wonder Man , which was Vera-Ellen's first film and Danny Kaye's second, opened to excellent reviews. According to the Var review, some of Kaye's material had been used before in his stage shows, but was reworked for the screen by his wife, Sylvia Fine. In Jun 1943, Kaye had submitted the musical number "Anatole of Paris" to the War Department for approval for viewing by men abroad, and at that time, a HR news item reports, it was deemed unacceptable because it depicted a Parisienne in an unflattering light. Other HR news items add Bobby Summers, Gene Collins, Bertha Belmore, Alice Wallace, Grant Mitchell, Helen Chapman, Allan Dodel, Arleen Whelan and Allen Jenkins to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture); Sound Recording; and Music (Song--"So in Love") categories. It won an Academy Award in the Special Effects (Photographic Effects, John Fulton, and Sound Effects, Arthur Johns) category. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Apr 1945.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Apr 45
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 44
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 44
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 44
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 44
p. 25.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 44
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 44
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 45
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Sep 44
p. 2093.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Apr 45
p. 2425.
New York Times
9 Jun 45
p. 17.
Variety
25 Apr 45
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and The Goldwyn Girls:
and
Katharine Booth
Carolyn Haney
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Ed mgr
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus numbers orch and cond by
Mus dir
SOUND
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
Sd dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Dances
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Bali Boogie" and "Opera Number," words and music by Sylvia Fine
"Otchi Tchorniya (Dark Eyes)," traditional Russian folk song, lyrics by Sylvia Fine
"So in Love," words and music by Leo Robin and David Rose.
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1945
Production Date:
12 July--18 July 1944
7 August--16 November 1944
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 June 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13339
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
95-96 or 98
Length(in feet):
8,805
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10658
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

As flamboyant nightclub entertainer Buster "Buzzy" Bellew prepares to testify in a murder trial against mobster Ten Grand Jackson, he also arranges to marry his girl friend and fellow singer, Midge Mallon, in two days. Soon after, however, he is murdered by Jackson's thugs, Torso and Chimp. At the moment Buzzy is killed, his estranged "superidentical" twin brother, the staid genius Edwin Dingle, begins to hear music and thinks of Buzzy. Although the shy Edwin manages to arrange a date for that evening with librarian Ellen Shanley, he hears Buzzy calling him and is compelled to leave the date and wander into the park. There, Buzzy's ghost appears and convinces Edwin he is dead by playing pranks on other people, to whom he is invisible. He proposes that Edwin pretend to be him in order to testify against Jackson, and promises to inhabit Edwin's body to help him out whenever the charade becomes too difficult. Although Edwin attempts to return to Ellen that night, Buzzy compels him to visit his nightclub, where Edwin acts hopelessly out of place until Buzzy finally inhabits his body and performs his routine. Edwin then calls Ellen, but after she hangs up on him furiously, he gets so drunk that Buzzy passes out. Meanwhile, Jackson, who has seen Edwin on stage, assumes his men have botched the murder and orders them to try again. The next day, when Ellen sees Edwin outside the library running from Torso and Chimp and then being escorted by the police to District Attorney O'Brien's office, she believes he is deranged. O'Brien insists that Edwin give his statement, and when Buzzy does not arrive to inhabit him, Edwin invents ... +


As flamboyant nightclub entertainer Buster "Buzzy" Bellew prepares to testify in a murder trial against mobster Ten Grand Jackson, he also arranges to marry his girl friend and fellow singer, Midge Mallon, in two days. Soon after, however, he is murdered by Jackson's thugs, Torso and Chimp. At the moment Buzzy is killed, his estranged "superidentical" twin brother, the staid genius Edwin Dingle, begins to hear music and thinks of Buzzy. Although the shy Edwin manages to arrange a date for that evening with librarian Ellen Shanley, he hears Buzzy calling him and is compelled to leave the date and wander into the park. There, Buzzy's ghost appears and convinces Edwin he is dead by playing pranks on other people, to whom he is invisible. He proposes that Edwin pretend to be him in order to testify against Jackson, and promises to inhabit Edwin's body to help him out whenever the charade becomes too difficult. Although Edwin attempts to return to Ellen that night, Buzzy compels him to visit his nightclub, where Edwin acts hopelessly out of place until Buzzy finally inhabits his body and performs his routine. Edwin then calls Ellen, but after she hangs up on him furiously, he gets so drunk that Buzzy passes out. Meanwhile, Jackson, who has seen Edwin on stage, assumes his men have botched the murder and orders them to try again. The next day, when Ellen sees Edwin outside the library running from Torso and Chimp and then being escorted by the police to District Attorney O'Brien's office, she believes he is deranged. O'Brien insists that Edwin give his statement, and when Buzzy does not arrive to inhabit him, Edwin invents an obviously false story, which causes O'Brien to throw him out in disgust. At the same time, Midge waits two hours at the church for Buzzy to marry her, and finally asks nightclub owner Monte Rossen to marry her instead. Ellen then calls O'Brien for information on Edwin and discovers the district attorney is at the opera. When Edwin arrives to tell her the whole story again, she shuts him out of the house. At that moment, however, Torso and Chimp hold her up, and their questions convince her that Edwin has told the truth. Edwin bursts into the apartment, inadvertently revealing himself to the thugs, who chase him out. As he runs, Buzzy finally wakes from his drunken stupor and tells Edwin that he witnessed Jackson murdering a fan dancer, who stashed the evidence against the gangster in a safe-deposit box under the name Minnie Smith. Buzzy then reveals that he has "run out of ectoplasm" and can no longer inhabit him, leaving Edwin sole responsibility for relating the information to O'Brien. Edwin and Ellen race separately to the opera, and during the performance, Edwin escapes from Torso and Chimp by disguising himself as a soloist. On stage, he begins singing Buzzy's testimony out to O'Brien's box seats until Ellen makes her way into the box and explains what has happened. O'Brien directs the security guards to arrest Torso and Chimp, and the next day, Jackson is convicted as Edwin and Ellen marry in a double service with Midge and Monte. On their honeymoon, Edwin reveals that he now has learned to combine Buzzy's charm with his own brilliance. +

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.