My Favorite Spy (1942)

85-86 mins | Comedy | 12 June 1942

Director:

Tay Garnett

Producer:

Harold Lloyd

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Production Designers:

Albert D'Agostino, Carroll Clark

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

According to a Dec 1940 news item in HR , producer Harold Lloyd was to star in this picture as a recruit caught in the draft. Lloyd does not appear in the final picture, however. Another pre-production news item in HR adds singer Ginny Simms, a former member of Kay Kyser's band, to the cast, but she does not appear in the final film. William Hampton, a scriptwriter for Kyser's radio show, was to write gags for the film, according to another news item in HR , but he is not credited onscreen or in other sources.
       According to the records of the War Bureau of Public Relations at NARS, the War Department initially withheld its approval of this film because of inaccuracies in the script. In a memo dated 23 Dec 1941, Lt. Col M. W. Wright, Chief of the Pictorial Branch, objected that the story misrepresented the Army Intelligence Division by portraying it as engaging in espionage. In a Jan 1942 memo, Wright rejected the studio's revisions, asserting that Kyser's lack of qualifications and training prevented him from ever being called into active service as an officer. Wright suggested instead that Kyser be called to active duty by error, warning that his character must not be made to look ridiculous. To circumvent Wright's criticisms, producer Lloyd suggested a mix-up regarding Kyser's orders. A week later, on 26 Jan 1942, Wright rejected Lloyd's proposal, insisting that a "commissioned officer in the United States Army can not be made an object of ridicule." On 2 Feb 1942, William Gordon of RKO's censorship department capitulated to the government's demands, ... More Less

According to a Dec 1940 news item in HR , producer Harold Lloyd was to star in this picture as a recruit caught in the draft. Lloyd does not appear in the final picture, however. Another pre-production news item in HR adds singer Ginny Simms, a former member of Kay Kyser's band, to the cast, but she does not appear in the final film. William Hampton, a scriptwriter for Kyser's radio show, was to write gags for the film, according to another news item in HR , but he is not credited onscreen or in other sources.
       According to the records of the War Bureau of Public Relations at NARS, the War Department initially withheld its approval of this film because of inaccuracies in the script. In a memo dated 23 Dec 1941, Lt. Col M. W. Wright, Chief of the Pictorial Branch, objected that the story misrepresented the Army Intelligence Division by portraying it as engaging in espionage. In a Jan 1942 memo, Wright rejected the studio's revisions, asserting that Kyser's lack of qualifications and training prevented him from ever being called into active service as an officer. Wright suggested instead that Kyser be called to active duty by error, warning that his character must not be made to look ridiculous. To circumvent Wright's criticisms, producer Lloyd suggested a mix-up regarding Kyser's orders. A week later, on 26 Jan 1942, Wright rejected Lloyd's proposal, insisting that a "commissioned officer in the United States Army can not be made an object of ridicule." On 2 Feb 1942, William Gordon of RKO's censorship department capitulated to the government's demands, assuring the War Department that Kyser would be called to active duty by error and would be reinstated as a civilian rather than a military operative, thus avoiding any possibility of ridiculing the armed forces. A news item in HR notes that in Feb 1942, RKO shot the additional scenes necessary to make these changes. In Apr 1942, the War Deparment Motion Picture Board of Review finally passed the picture for release.
       According to other news items in HR , the restrictions on night shooting imposed by the war forced the studio to film the night exteriors indoors using negative film stock. Other news items in HR add that Jane Wyman was borrowed from Warner Bros. and Ellen Drew from Paramount. My Favorite Spy was Lloyd's last production at RKO. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 May 1942.
---
Film Daily
6 May 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 42
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 May 42
p. 646.
New York Times
29 May 42
p. 13.
Variety
6 May 42
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
Spec seq and contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus arr
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
SONGS
"Just Plain Lonesome" and "I've Got the Moon in My Pocket," music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke.
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 June 1942
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 May 1942
Production Date:
mid December 1941--late January 1942
addl scenes filmed late February 1942
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
29 April 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11414
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85-86
Length(in feet):
7,733
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8000
SYNOPSIS

On the day of his wedding to Terry, band leader Kay Kyser receives a telegram notifying him that he has been drafted and ordering him to report to camp that afternoon. As a result, Kay is forced to leave his bride immediately after the ceremony. At camp, the army brass discovers that they have inducted the wrong Kyser and after discharging Kay, ask him to join a government espionage unit investigating saboteurs operating from the Orchid Room, the ballroom in which Kay's band performs. Kay is ordered to tell no one of his assignment, and returns to civilian life, disgraced by being publicly discharged for flat feet. Kay is about to spend his first night alone with Terry when an agent phones and directs him to a waterfront dive where he is to meet his contact, Connie. At the docks, as Connie and Kay venture out into the foggy night, they witness the murder of one of their associates. In his zeal to escape, Kay rams a police car and spends the night in jail. Hoping to avoid Terry's wrath, he returns home the next morning, carried in on a stretcher, and claims that he was hit by a truck. Terry believes Kay's story until she reads the morning headlines about his arrest with a mysterious woman and stomps out of the apartment. Soon after, Kay's arranger is killed by Harry Robinson, a spy working undercover as the manager of the Orchid Room. Robinson substitues another spy as Kay's new arranger, and when Major Allen, a member of U. S. Army Intelligence, analyzes the musical score, he realizes that the notes form ... +


On the day of his wedding to Terry, band leader Kay Kyser receives a telegram notifying him that he has been drafted and ordering him to report to camp that afternoon. As a result, Kay is forced to leave his bride immediately after the ceremony. At camp, the army brass discovers that they have inducted the wrong Kyser and after discharging Kay, ask him to join a government espionage unit investigating saboteurs operating from the Orchid Room, the ballroom in which Kay's band performs. Kay is ordered to tell no one of his assignment, and returns to civilian life, disgraced by being publicly discharged for flat feet. Kay is about to spend his first night alone with Terry when an agent phones and directs him to a waterfront dive where he is to meet his contact, Connie. At the docks, as Connie and Kay venture out into the foggy night, they witness the murder of one of their associates. In his zeal to escape, Kay rams a police car and spends the night in jail. Hoping to avoid Terry's wrath, he returns home the next morning, carried in on a stretcher, and claims that he was hit by a truck. Terry believes Kay's story until she reads the morning headlines about his arrest with a mysterious woman and stomps out of the apartment. Soon after, Kay's arranger is killed by Harry Robinson, a spy working undercover as the manager of the Orchid Room. Robinson substitues another spy as Kay's new arranger, and when Major Allen, a member of U. S. Army Intelligence, analyzes the musical score, he realizes that the notes form a coded message to be braodcast over the airwaves. Kay returns to his apartment to find Terry waiting for him, and the newlyweds are about to kiss and make up when Connie calls with instructions to meet her in ten minutes. To produce an alibi for his abrupt departure, Kay throws a flower pot at a police officer walking his beat, and when the officer comes to arrest him, Kay handcuffs him to the railing in the elevator. Kay's ruse fails, however, when Terry sees Kay and Connie climb into a cab together, and she files for an annulment. To lend credibility to Kay's disillusionment with his country, Connie instructs him to make unpatriotic remarks at a rally in the park. His remarks spark a fight with two marines, and when Robinson learns that Kay has been arrested for creating a disturbance, he takes the bait and informs the band leader that he plans to visit the Kysers that night at their apartment. Major Allen dispatches Connie to pose as Kay's wife, and when Terry returns to the apartment, Connie locks her in the closet. Soon after, Robinson and the others arrive and announce that they are taking Kay to headquarters to meet the chief. Connie assures Kay that she will trail them and send Major Allen and his men to his rescue. Immediately after Kay leaves, however, Terry struggles free and locks Connie in the closet. Meanwhile, Robinson has sensed that something is amiss, and when they reach the boarded-up theater that serves as headquarters, he accuses Kay of working for Army Intelligence. Kay is calmly awaiting Connie's reinforcements when Terry bursts in and accuses Kay of deceiving her. Dismissing Robinson's threats as another ruse, Terry slugs Kay. When the spies leave the room, Kay and Terry escape through a secret panel, but Terry still refuses to believe that they are being held captive by a gang of spies and informs Kay that she locked Connie in the closet. The spies capture Terry as she runs across the stage, but when one of the gang swings an ax at Kay, he misses and cuts the ropes to the curtains instead, sending them crashing down on the spies. After Kay subdues the saboteurs by smacking them on the heads with a mallet and nailing the curtain to the floor, he is hailed as a hero. As he and Terry return triumphantly to the Orchid Room, he encounters the officer he handcuffed in the elevator and is arrested. Determined not to spend another night without her husband, Terry cracks a flower pot over the officer's head, and the newlyweds spend their first night together in adjoining cells. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Espionage, with songs


Subject

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

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