Doll Face (1945)

80-81 mins | Musical comedy | January 1945

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Producer:

Bryan Foy

Cinematographer:

Joseph La Shelle

Editor:

Norman Colbert

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Boris Leven

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Naked Genius and Here's a Kiss . Playwright and renowned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee is credited onscreen as Louise Hovick, which was her real name. Noting the billing, the Var reviewer commented: "Pic could be exploited by use of the fact that Gypsy Rose Lee wrote the stage play, The Naked Genius , on which the script is based, and also by the fact that film has an autobiographical tinge in its story of a burlesque queen who writes the story of her life. But Twentieth Century-Fox, presumably fearing a boomerang, credits neither play nor authoress' w.k. [well-known] stage-name, merely listing pic as based on 'a play by Louise Hovick.'" Although a 6 Apr 1944 HR news item noted that producer George Jessel offered Lee a role in the picture, she does not appear in the finished film.
       In Jun 1944, HR announced that Carole Landis would star in the film, and that Jackie Gleason would have the "comedy lead." According to Jul 1945 HR news items, William Eythe was scheduled to play the "romantic lead," and fifteen-year-old singer Hazel Dawn had been included in the cast. Dawn's appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed, however. Dennis O'Keefe was borrowed from Edward Small's company for the film, which marked the screen debuts of Martha Stewart and Lex Barker. According to a 3 Aug 1945 DV news item, producer Bryan Foy filled in for director Lewis Seiler for three days while Seiler was ill.
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Naked Genius and Here's a Kiss . Playwright and renowned stripper Gypsy Rose Lee is credited onscreen as Louise Hovick, which was her real name. Noting the billing, the Var reviewer commented: "Pic could be exploited by use of the fact that Gypsy Rose Lee wrote the stage play, The Naked Genius , on which the script is based, and also by the fact that film has an autobiographical tinge in its story of a burlesque queen who writes the story of her life. But Twentieth Century-Fox, presumably fearing a boomerang, credits neither play nor authoress' w.k. [well-known] stage-name, merely listing pic as based on 'a play by Louise Hovick.'" Although a 6 Apr 1944 HR news item noted that producer George Jessel offered Lee a role in the picture, she does not appear in the finished film.
       In Jun 1944, HR announced that Carole Landis would star in the film, and that Jackie Gleason would have the "comedy lead." According to Jul 1945 HR news items, William Eythe was scheduled to play the "romantic lead," and fifteen-year-old singer Hazel Dawn had been included in the cast. Dawn's appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed, however. Dennis O'Keefe was borrowed from Edward Small's company for the film, which marked the screen debuts of Martha Stewart and Lex Barker. According to a 3 Aug 1945 DV news item, producer Bryan Foy filled in for director Lewis Seiler for three days while Seiler was ill.
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library and the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the Breen Office refused to allow the studio to use The Naked Genius as either the title of the film or of "Doll Face's" autobiography. The PCA also strongly protested the depiction of "Doll Face" as a stripper and disapproved several screenplays submitted by the studio. In late Jul 1945, PCA head Joseph I. Breen cautioned studio public relations head Jason S. Joy: "Please have in mind that any time you undertake to identify a character as a 'strip tease' artist, you run the risk of giving enormous offense everywhere. People, pretty generally, look up [sic] the business of the burlesque shows--and, more importantly, the strip tease--as, possibly, the very lowest form of public entertainment, and this same viewpoint is reflected in the reaction of the Censor Boards."
       In Aug 1945, Joy replied to Breen, in regard to a conference concerning the film attended by studio and PCA officials: "All of us distinctly understood that the strip tease flavor in Doll Face was not considered by you to be a violation of the Code, but that you were merely (and earnestly) warning us that any reference to strip tease would get us into an awful lot of trouble." Although the PCA continued to protest the film's burlesque setting, it was eventually given a production code seal and encountered few problems with state or city censor boards. The Breen Office also disapproved the lyrics for "Chico Chico (From Porto Rico)," stating that it constituted "a burlesque of the Latin-American character, and hence as such would unquestionably give offense to Latin Americans generally." The song lyrics were changed slightly and later approved.
       According to the studio records, Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson submitted the song "True to the Navy" for inclusion in the film, and a production number featuring it was filmed. McHugh and Adamson had previously submitted the song to Paramount, however, which used it in their 1945 release Bring on the Girls . Paramount refused to license the song for use in Doll Face , and the number, which cost between $60,000 and $75,000 to film, had to be cut. In a Dec 1945 letter to Twentieth Century-Fox studio president Spyros Skouras, studio attorney George Wasson speculated that Paramount refused to license the song because Twentieth Century-Fox had obtained the distribution rights to Tales of Manhattan , which Paramount had desired, and because Twentieth Century-Fox had succeeded in getting clearance for the use of the title Sentimental Journey , which Paramount also wanted. The legal records also reveal that Irving Weissman filed suit against the studio, claiming that the song "Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba)" had been plagiarized from one of his compositions. The case was dismissed in Sep 1948 by a federal court judge, but Weissman again filed suit through a state court. The disposition of the second suit has not been determined. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Dec 1945.
---
Daily Variety
17 Dec 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Dec 45
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 1944.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 45
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 45
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 45
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 45
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 46
p. 8.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Dec 1945.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Sep 45
p. 2628.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Dec 45
p. 2765.
New York Times
28 Mar 46
p. 35.
Variety
19 Dec 45
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
2d cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch arr
SOUND
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Transparency projection shots
Transparency projection shots
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Naked Genius by Gypsy Rose Lee (New York, 21 Oct 1943).
SONGS
"Somebody's Walkin' in My Dreams," "Red, Hot and Beautiful," "Eighty Miles Outside of Atlanta," "Here Comes Heaven Again," "Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba)" and "Chico Chico (From Porto Rico)," music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Harold Adamson
"The Parisian Trot," music by Lionel Newman, lyrics by Charles Henderson.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Heres a Kiss
The Naked Genuis
Release Date:
January 1945
Production Date:
early August--mid September 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 January 1946
Copyright Number:
LP151
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80-81
Length(in feet):
7,203
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11159
SYNOPSIS

When burlesque queen Doll Face Carroll auditions for impresario Flo Hartman's new Broadway show, he arrogantly turns her down and tells her manager, Michael Francis Hannegan, that Doll Face does not have enough class for a "legit" show. Mike, who is also Doll Face's boyfriend and the owner of the Gayety Theatre, where she works, is insulted by Hartman's attitude, especially as Doll Face is the hottest attraction in burlesque. After the irritating encounter with Hartman, Mike stops by a local drugstore and is given a free copy of a book by Frederick Manly Gerard. The book, which sold poorly despite receiving excellent reviews, sets Mike thinking about how to give Doll Face a veneer of culture, and he decides that she should write an autobiography called The Genius DeMilo . Doll Face is skeptical about the idea, but Mike assures her that he will hire a good ghostwriter. Mike then calls Gerard, who comes to the theater because he believes that Mike is offering him a job concerning a legitimate actress. The blue-blooded Gerard is amused by the idea of becoming involved with "burleycue" but still turns down Mike's offer. When Gerard meets the lovely Doll Face, however, he changes his mind and begins interviewing her. Chita Chula, Doll Face's friend and fellow performer, is suspicious about Gerard's interest in Doll Face, but Mike brushes aside her concerns. Mike does listen, however, when Chita points out that Mike's theater will suffer if Hartman is impressed enough with Doll Face's book to hire her. Mike decides to stage a legitimate musical of his own, starring Doll Face, and Gerard offers ... +


When burlesque queen Doll Face Carroll auditions for impresario Flo Hartman's new Broadway show, he arrogantly turns her down and tells her manager, Michael Francis Hannegan, that Doll Face does not have enough class for a "legit" show. Mike, who is also Doll Face's boyfriend and the owner of the Gayety Theatre, where she works, is insulted by Hartman's attitude, especially as Doll Face is the hottest attraction in burlesque. After the irritating encounter with Hartman, Mike stops by a local drugstore and is given a free copy of a book by Frederick Manly Gerard. The book, which sold poorly despite receiving excellent reviews, sets Mike thinking about how to give Doll Face a veneer of culture, and he decides that she should write an autobiography called The Genius DeMilo . Doll Face is skeptical about the idea, but Mike assures her that he will hire a good ghostwriter. Mike then calls Gerard, who comes to the theater because he believes that Mike is offering him a job concerning a legitimate actress. The blue-blooded Gerard is amused by the idea of becoming involved with "burleycue" but still turns down Mike's offer. When Gerard meets the lovely Doll Face, however, he changes his mind and begins interviewing her. Chita Chula, Doll Face's friend and fellow performer, is suspicious about Gerard's interest in Doll Face, but Mike brushes aside her concerns. Mike does listen, however, when Chita points out that Mike's theater will suffer if Hartman is impressed enough with Doll Face's book to hire her. Mike decides to stage a legitimate musical of his own, starring Doll Face, and Gerard offers to supply the necessary funds. Time passes as the troupe rehearses the show and Gerard finishes the book. Gerard, who has fallen in love with Doll Face, tells her about his feelings, but she cares only for Mike. Mike, whose jealousy has finally been provoked, angers Doll Face when he declares that the book does not need to be published, as they have already received enough publicity from it. Although Mike's only motive is to separate Doll Face and Gerard, Doll Face assumes that he is denigrating the book and insists on going with Gerard the next day to see their publisher, Spencer Bennett. On the way to Bennett's island, however, the motorboat that Gerard has rented breaks down, and after a few hours of drifting, the couple swims for the shore. Mike frantically searches for Doll Face, and when he finds her asleep on the beach the next morning, he assumes that she and Gerard have spent more than an innocent night together. Mike's angry condemnation breaks Doll Face's heart, and they end both their professional and personal relationships. As two months pass, Frankie Porter, Doll Face's replacement, cannot attract the same crowds, and Mike is forced to close the theater. Meanwhile, Hartman's new show has a disasterous out-of-town run, and he asks Doll Face to star in a new show for him. Gerard suggests dramatizing The Genius DeMilo , which has become a success, and Hartman hires the now out-of-work troupe from the Gayety to put it on. During rehearsals, Doll Face becomes distraught by scenes recreating her romance with Mike, and breaks off her relationship with Gerard, who has proposed to her. Doll Face refuses to forgive Mike, despite Chita's efforts to reunite them, and Mike concocts a scheme to force her to talk to him. On the opening night of the new show, Mike files an injunction prohibiting Doll Face from performing by claiming that she is still under contract to him. When the infuriated Doll Face confronts him, Mike tenderly tells her that he only wanted to talk to her, and that he wishes her happiness in her new life. Won over by Mike's apologies, Doll Face helps him to trick Hartman into giving him a quarter share in the new show, as well as co-producer credit. Doll Face then goes on with her performance and smiles happily at Mike, who waits for her in the wings. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.