You'll Never Get Rich (1941)

87-88 mins | Romantic comedy | 25 September 1941

Director:

Sidney Lanfield

Producer:

Samuel Bischoff

Cinematographer:

Philip Tannura

Editor:

Otto Meyer

Production Designer:

Lionel Banks

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was He's My Uncle . The picture opens with actor Robert Benchley seated in the back seat of a limousine as he drives past billboards displaying the production credits of the film. Although a HR production chart places Kay St. Germaine in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. This was the first of two Columbia pictures that teamed Rita Hayworth with Fred Astaire (see entry entry above for You Were Never Lovelier ). Although Hayworth had been dancing professionally since her teens, this was her first major screen dancing role. According to Astaire's autobiography, Hayworth did not wear high heels in this film because Astaire was only slightly taller than she. The pair spent over seven weeks perfecting their dance numbers, according to Astaire.
       According to a Columbia press release contained in the AMPAS Library production files, the army set in the film was almost an exact replica of Camp Haan, the United States anti-aircraft artillary post near Riverside, CA. The only part of the set that deviated from the camp was the guard house, which was enlarged to accomodate Astaire's dance routines. A news item in HR adds that the eighteen-acre outdoor set that Columbia built to double for Camp Haan was the studio's largest since Columbia's 1940 film Arizona (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0148).
       The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score and the number "I Kissed My Baby Goodbye" was nominated as Best Song. Modern sources credit Kalloch as gown designer, Irene ... More Less

The working title of this film was He's My Uncle . The picture opens with actor Robert Benchley seated in the back seat of a limousine as he drives past billboards displaying the production credits of the film. Although a HR production chart places Kay St. Germaine in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. This was the first of two Columbia pictures that teamed Rita Hayworth with Fred Astaire (see entry entry above for You Were Never Lovelier ). Although Hayworth had been dancing professionally since her teens, this was her first major screen dancing role. According to Astaire's autobiography, Hayworth did not wear high heels in this film because Astaire was only slightly taller than she. The pair spent over seven weeks perfecting their dance numbers, according to Astaire.
       According to a Columbia press release contained in the AMPAS Library production files, the army set in the film was almost an exact replica of Camp Haan, the United States anti-aircraft artillary post near Riverside, CA. The only part of the set that deviated from the camp was the guard house, which was enlarged to accomodate Astaire's dance routines. A news item in HR adds that the eighteen-acre outdoor set that Columbia built to double for Camp Haan was the studio's largest since Columbia's 1940 film Arizona (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0148).
       The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score and the number "I Kissed My Baby Goodbye" was nominated as Best Song. Modern sources credit Kalloch as gown designer, Irene as costume designer, Ray Howell as costume supervisor, Clay Campbell as makeup supervisor, Helen Hunt as hair stylist and John Livaday as chief sound engineer. Modern sources add to the cast The Delta Rhythm Boys, featuring Chico Hamilton, Buddy Colette, A. Grant and Red Mack. The dance number that Astaire performs in the guard house was titled "A-Stairable Rag," according to modern sources. Modern souces also note that Hayworth's singing voice was dubbed by radio and record performer Martha Tilton, who appears in an uncredited part in the picture. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Sep 1941.
---
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1941.
---
Film Daily
25 Sep 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Jul 41
p. 193.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Sep 41
p. 285.
New York Times
24 Oct 41
p. 27.
Variety
24 Sep 41
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
Asst
SOUND
Mus rec
DANCE
Dances staged by
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Boogie Woogie Barcarrolle" and "Dream Dancing" by Cole Porter.
SONGS
"Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye," "So Near and Yet So Far," "Shooting the Works for Uncle Sam" and "Wedding Cake Walk," words and music by Cole Porter.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
He's My Uncle
Release Date:
25 September 1941
Production Date:
20 May--24 July 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 September 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10757
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87-88
Length(in feet):
7,963
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7408
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

To woo dancer Sheila Winthrop, theatrical impresario and philanderer Martin Cortland buys her a diamond bracelet inscribed with her name. While at the jewelry store, Martin also buys his wife Julia a back scratcher for their fifteenth wedding anniversary. After Sheila refuses the bauble, Martin accidentally switches the boxes and presents Julia with Sheila's bracelet. When Julia threatens divorce, Martin claims that he bought the bracelet as a favor to Robert Curtis, his dance director, who, he says, is in love with Sheila. To lend credibility to his story, Martin asks Robert to meet him and Julia at a nightclub and pretend that he is in love with Sheila. Sheila, who is attracted to Robert, is delighted to accompany him until he presents her with the bracelet in front of the Cortlands. Feeling betrayed and embarrassed, Sheila runs out of the club. The next morning, a photo of Robert and Sheila at the club appears on the society page of the paper with the announcement that they are almost engaged. Robert drives over to Sheila's apartment to demand an explanation and is met by Tom Barton, Sheila's boyfriend, who decides to teach Robert a lesson by pretending to be her brother. After Tom pulls out a gun and demands a shotgun wedding, Robert runs out the door and goes to Martin's office. When Martin informs Robert that he has just been drafted, Robert exclaims that the army offers the perfect solution to his problems. While unpacking his suitcase at bootcamp, Robert finds the bracelet. That night, Robert, feeling guilty over his treatment of Sheila, dreams about Tom ... +


To woo dancer Sheila Winthrop, theatrical impresario and philanderer Martin Cortland buys her a diamond bracelet inscribed with her name. While at the jewelry store, Martin also buys his wife Julia a back scratcher for their fifteenth wedding anniversary. After Sheila refuses the bauble, Martin accidentally switches the boxes and presents Julia with Sheila's bracelet. When Julia threatens divorce, Martin claims that he bought the bracelet as a favor to Robert Curtis, his dance director, who, he says, is in love with Sheila. To lend credibility to his story, Martin asks Robert to meet him and Julia at a nightclub and pretend that he is in love with Sheila. Sheila, who is attracted to Robert, is delighted to accompany him until he presents her with the bracelet in front of the Cortlands. Feeling betrayed and embarrassed, Sheila runs out of the club. The next morning, a photo of Robert and Sheila at the club appears on the society page of the paper with the announcement that they are almost engaged. Robert drives over to Sheila's apartment to demand an explanation and is met by Tom Barton, Sheila's boyfriend, who decides to teach Robert a lesson by pretending to be her brother. After Tom pulls out a gun and demands a shotgun wedding, Robert runs out the door and goes to Martin's office. When Martin informs Robert that he has just been drafted, Robert exclaims that the army offers the perfect solution to his problems. While unpacking his suitcase at bootcamp, Robert finds the bracelet. That night, Robert, feeling guilty over his treatment of Sheila, dreams about Tom chasing him with a pitchfork. When the sergeant tries to slap him awake, Robert slugs the sergeant and is sentenced to two days in the guard house. Soon after, Sheila and her aunt Louise come to visit Tom, a captain at the camp. Drawn by sounds of music coming from the guard house, Sheila goes to the window and sees Robert. Robert apologizes to Sheila for his caddish behavior and tries to impress her by claiming that he is a captain. Upon his release from the guard house, Robert steals a captain's jacket and goes to visit Sheila, who forgives him. There he meets Tom and the captain whose coat he stole and is sentenced to two more weeks in the guard house. Soon after, Martin offers to bring his show to entertain the troops and asks Colonel Shiller to assign Robert to the show. The colonel consents, but assigns two guards to watch Robert. When Robert insists on casting Sheila as the lead dancer, Martin, who has already promised the part to Sonya, his latest conquest, schemes to force Sheila out of the show. Unaware that Martin has changed the inscription on the bracelet from Sheila to Sonya, Robert tells Sheila that he has bought the bracelet from Martin as a gift for her. When Robert learns that Tom has been assigned to Panama and is planning to propose to Sheila that night, he hurries to retrieve the bracelet from Martin's apartment. Meanwhile, Martin, knowing that Sonya is at his apartment, sends Sheila after Robert. At the apartment, Robert finds Sonya dressed only in a robe, and when Sheila knocks at the door, he hides her in the bathroom. Robert's guards then appear at the door, so he and Sheila try to escape down the fire escape. When Sheila discovers Sonya, Robert relates his story which Sheila believes until he presents her with the bracelet that now bears Sonya's name. Announcing that she is going to marry Tom, Sheila storms out of the apartment. To get even with Martin, Robert calls Julia and invites her to the camp. At rehearsal, Robert introduces Martin's wife to Sonya, causing the dancer to withdraw from the show. To convince Sheila to return, Robert instructs his fellow recruits Kewpie Blain and Swivel Tongue to incite the soldiers to demand Sheila's appearance in the show. Faced with a line of picketing soldiers outside her house, Sheila relents and agrees to perform as Robert's partner. Robert then tells Kewpie and Swivel Tongue to install a real justice of the peace in the wedding dance number. After completing the dance, Robert kisses Sheila and announces that they are married. Sheila angrily runs off stage but is stopped by Martin, who finally tells her the truth. Forgiving Robert, Sheila goes to visit him at the guard house just as Colonel Shiller arrives to announce his release. As the newlyweds leave the guard house, Kewpie and Swivel Tongue, who have been digging an escape tunnel for Robert, break through the jailhouse floor. +

GENRE
Sub-genre:
Show business


Subject

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.