Three Sailors and a Girl (1953)

94-95 mins | Musical comedy | 26 December 1953

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Producer:

Sammy Cahn

Cinematographer:

Carl Guthrie

Editor:

Owen Marks

Production Designers:

Leo Kuter, Charles H. Clarke

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film ends with an appearance by Burt Lancaster, portraying a Marine who wants to take over the lead role in the show, but who is turned down by Sam Levene as "Joe Woods," who thinks he looks too much like "some actor." In real life, Lancaster's acting career reportedly began when he returned from combat with Special Services after World War II, and was mistaken for an actor by a producer, who asked him to read for a part. According to a Dec 1952 HR news item, Jane Powell was borrowed from M-G-M. Although he is not credited onscreen, early production charts list Charles H. Clarke as the art director.
       According to a Feb 1953 HR news item, dancers in the film included Lee Bergquist, Violet Cane, Evelyn Cedar, Dorinda Clifton, twins Jean and Joan Corbett, Bonnie Henjum, Jan Hollar, Wendy Howard, Nolie Miller and Winona Smith. HR news items add Dale Clark and Michael Smith to the cast. Their appearance and the appearance of the dancers in the final film has not been confirmed. Three Sailors and a Girl marked the film debut of nightclub comic Jack E. Leonard. The film opened on the West coast at the San Diego Naval Hospital on 18 Dec 1953. For information on the many films based on George S. Kaufman's play The Butter and Egg Man , see the entry for the 1932 Warner Bros. production Tenderfoot in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ... More Less

The film ends with an appearance by Burt Lancaster, portraying a Marine who wants to take over the lead role in the show, but who is turned down by Sam Levene as "Joe Woods," who thinks he looks too much like "some actor." In real life, Lancaster's acting career reportedly began when he returned from combat with Special Services after World War II, and was mistaken for an actor by a producer, who asked him to read for a part. According to a Dec 1952 HR news item, Jane Powell was borrowed from M-G-M. Although he is not credited onscreen, early production charts list Charles H. Clarke as the art director.
       According to a Feb 1953 HR news item, dancers in the film included Lee Bergquist, Violet Cane, Evelyn Cedar, Dorinda Clifton, twins Jean and Joan Corbett, Bonnie Henjum, Jan Hollar, Wendy Howard, Nolie Miller and Winona Smith. HR news items add Dale Clark and Michael Smith to the cast. Their appearance and the appearance of the dancers in the final film has not been confirmed. Three Sailors and a Girl marked the film debut of nightclub comic Jack E. Leonard. The film opened on the West coast at the San Diego Naval Hospital on 18 Dec 1953. For information on the many films based on George S. Kaufman's play The Butter and Egg Man , see the entry for the 1932 Warner Bros. production Tenderfoot in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Dec 1953.
---
Daily Variety
23 Nov 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Dec 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 53
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 53
p. 4, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 53
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 53
p. 41.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 53
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1953.
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Nov 53
p. 2085.
New York Times
23 Nov 53
p. 32.
Variety
25 Nov 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch
Vocal arr
DANCE
Mus numbers staged and dir
Dance dir
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Butter and Egg Man by George S. Kaufman (New York, 23 Sep 1925).
SONGS
"My Heart Is a Singing Heart," "You're But Oh So Right," "Kiss Me or I'll Scream," "Face to Face," "The Lately Song," "There Must Be a Reason," "Show Me a Happy Woman (and I'll Show You a Miserable Man)," "It's Gonna Be a Big Hit," "Here Comes the Navy," "Home Is Where the Heart Is" and "I Got Butterflies," music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Sammy Cahn
"When It's Love," music by Earl Brent, lyrics Sammy Cahn
"Embraceable You," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 December 1953
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 20 November 1953
San Diego opening: 18 December 1953
Production Date:
30 January--early April 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 October 1953
Copyright Number:
LP4410
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
94-95
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16403
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After eight months at sea, women-hungry sailors in a submarine docking for repairs at New York Harbor anticipate thirty days of shore leave. One sailor, Choir Boy Jones, has just read a book about investing and suggests that the sailors invest their back pay, instead of wasting it on women. Hoping to double their money overnight, and have more to spend for twenty-nine days, the sailors delegate Jones and his friends, Twitch and Porky, to invest their money. The three sailors proceed to a brokerage carrying $50,000 in a gunnysack. In the lobby, they overhear a commotion in stockbroker B. P. Morrow's office, where theatrical producer Joe Woods is pitching his new musical comedy, while Penny Weston, an unknown lead in the show, sings and dances for the exasperated Morrow. As Woods and Penny are escorted off the premises, the insulted Woods yells accusations of mismanagement, which the gullible Jones takes seriously. Outside, Jones asks Woods to explain, but seeing money in the sailors' sack, Woods takes the sailors to his rehearsal space, which is located in a busy parking garage. There, dancers rehearse and the author, Melvyn Webster, coaches Emilio Rossi, an overrated opera star who has been cast as the male lead for name recognition. Hearing Woods explain to the sailors that the show is about the Navy, Melvyn realizes that the producer has again made changes to his autobiographical, dramatic play to suit the whims of investors. When Woods pushes Jones to sign a contract, Jones, who is an excellent singer, wants to hear the songs and read the script first. Woods secretly asks Penny to help convince the sailors, but she is reluctant to take ... +


After eight months at sea, women-hungry sailors in a submarine docking for repairs at New York Harbor anticipate thirty days of shore leave. One sailor, Choir Boy Jones, has just read a book about investing and suggests that the sailors invest their back pay, instead of wasting it on women. Hoping to double their money overnight, and have more to spend for twenty-nine days, the sailors delegate Jones and his friends, Twitch and Porky, to invest their money. The three sailors proceed to a brokerage carrying $50,000 in a gunnysack. In the lobby, they overhear a commotion in stockbroker B. P. Morrow's office, where theatrical producer Joe Woods is pitching his new musical comedy, while Penny Weston, an unknown lead in the show, sings and dances for the exasperated Morrow. As Woods and Penny are escorted off the premises, the insulted Woods yells accusations of mismanagement, which the gullible Jones takes seriously. Outside, Jones asks Woods to explain, but seeing money in the sailors' sack, Woods takes the sailors to his rehearsal space, which is located in a busy parking garage. There, dancers rehearse and the author, Melvyn Webster, coaches Emilio Rossi, an overrated opera star who has been cast as the male lead for name recognition. Hearing Woods explain to the sailors that the show is about the Navy, Melvyn realizes that the producer has again made changes to his autobiographical, dramatic play to suit the whims of investors. When Woods pushes Jones to sign a contract, Jones, who is an excellent singer, wants to hear the songs and read the script first. Woods secretly asks Penny to help convince the sailors, but she is reluctant to take advantage of the sailors' naïveté. However, Jones is already infatuated with her and sneaks her into the submarine to get the approval of the other sailors. Days later, the three sailors, who are now Broadway backers, assist with menial labor. Rossi is still bungling his lines, so Porky, who often makes up skits with Jones and Twitch to relieve shipboard boredom, demonstrates how to play the scene more comically. Unimpressed, Rossi demands that the scene be cut. When the troupe travels to Boston for try-outs, Penny feels guilty about her part in risking the sailors' money and tries to prepare the excited Jones for all possibilities. However, Jones feels betrayed after the reviewers pan the show. Penny was praised by the reviewers, but Rossi's poor performance was ridiculed, causing him to quit in a huff. Soon after, Melvyn also walks out. Despite these problems, Woods prepares to salvage the show and searches for new backers. Twitch, who is a talented dancer, and Porky fill in where needed. The discouraged Jones returns to the sub, until a workman, who claims that anything can be fixed, inspires him to return to the theater. After convincing some Marines to put up money for the show, Jones buys out Woods's half and confidently takes on rewriting and directing. However, he treats Penny brusquely, explaining that he has learned not to mix personal and show business. Seeing that Jones's naïve efforts are creating a flop, Penny, with Twitch and Porky's help, gets George Abbott, Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin to give them free advice. After watching a rehearsal, the three show business giants make several suggestions, including, as an exploitation angle, having the talented Jones, Twitch and Porky perform in the show. When the show later opens in New York at the Knickerbocker Theatre as Three Sailors and a Girl , starring Penny as "The Navy Girl," it is a smash hit and one reviewer says that Abbott, Hart and Gershwin could not have done better. Taking full credit, Jones plans to change careers, but the annoyed Penny, Twitch and Porky remind him that Abbott, Hart and Gershwin were responsible for the success. A lawyer, A. J. Patterson, who claims to represent original backers solicited by Woods, shows up threatening a lawsuit to reclaim his clients' investments. However, Woods also appears and Penny tricks him into buying back the show for $200,000, saying truthfully that Jones is due back on the submarine that night. Wanting to be honest, Jones returns to tell Woods about Patterson, but finds that the producer is expertly handling the lawyer, whom he has recognized as a swindler. Penny and Jones make up, and that evening, having quadrupled their submarine mates' investment, the three sailors make their final appearance in the show. +

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

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