AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Copacabana
Director: Alfred E. Green (Dir)
Release Date:   30 May 1947
Production Date:   22 Nov 1946--22 Jan 1947 at Samuel Goldwyn Studios
Duration (in mins):   92
Duration (in feet):   8,248
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Groucho Marx (Lionel Q. Devereaux)  
    Carmen Miranda (Carmen Novarro/Fifi)  
    Steve Cochran (Steve Hunt) By arr with Samuel Goldwyn
    Andy Russell (Himself)  
    Gloria Jean (Anne)  
    Abel Green (Himself)  
    Louie Sobol (Himself)  
    Earl Wilson (Himself)  
    De Castro Sisters    
    Paul & Eva Reyes    
    Ralph Sanford (Liggett)  
    Igor Dega    
    Kay Gorcey    
    Merle McHugh    
    Dee Turnell    
    Maxine Fife    
    Toni Kelly    
    Chili Williams    
    Abigail Adams    
    Jill Meredith    

Summary: In New York City, Lionel Q. Devereaux and his girl friend, Brazilian singer Carmen Novarro, are given twenty-four hours to pay their hotel bill. With the help of gullible singer Andy Russell, Lionel, posing as an agent, convinces producer Steve Hunt to let Carmen audition for the Club Copacabana. When Hunt asks whom else Lionel represents, he invents a veiled beauty from Paris named Fifi and convinces Carmen to personify her. Steve hires both Carmen and Fifi, who is a sensation in the press. Lionel tells Steve that he and Carmen are engaged to keep him away from her, but Steve asks out Fifi instead. Lionel then asks Andy to play cupid with Steve and his secretary, Anne, who is in love with him. Andy urges Anne to sing her feelings to Steve, but he is indifferent to her lovemaking. After Anatole Murphy, a Hollywood producer, makes an offer to Steve to take over Lionel's contract on Fifi, a slick agent named Liggett convinces Lionel to sell Fifi's contract to him for $5,000. Liggett in turn receives $100,000 from Murphy. Liggett becomes suspicious when he sees Fifi get into a cab and Carmen get out of it. After Anne confides in Carmen that Fifi is ruining her chances at love with Steve, Lionel and Carmen stage a fight in her dressing room between Carmen and Fifi, which is followed by Fifi's disappearance. Lionel later reports that she was found dead in the river and that he is glad he killed her. He is overheard, however, and blamed for Fifi's murder. During his interrogation, Lionel explains that he made up Fifi. Steve confesses he courted Fifi only for business and that he loves Ann. Carmen then enters dressed as Fifi, and when Steve removes her veil, Carmen and Fifi are proven to be one and the same. Lionel kisses Carmen, and Murphy offers to buy the girl and the story for a Hollywood picture. Lionel subsequently receives credit for everything on the production, which opens with a song about the Club Copacabana. 

Production Company: Beacon Productions, Inc.  
Production Text: A Sam Coslow Production
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: Alfred E. Green (Dir)
  Irvin Berwick (Dial dir)
  Harold Godsoe (Asst dir)
Producer: Sam Coslow (Prod)
  Walter Batchelor (Assoc prod)
  David L. Hersh By permission and cooperation of Monte Proser's Copacabana (Pres)
Writer: Laslo Vadnay (Orig story)
  Laslo Vadnay (Scr)
  Allen Boretz (Scr)
  Howard Harris (Scr)
  Sydney P. Zelinka (Addl dial)
Photography: Bert Glennon (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Duncan Cramer (Prod des)
Film Editor: Philip Cahn (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Julia Heron (Set dec)
Costumes: Barjansky (Cost des)
Music: Edward Ward (Mus dir and incidental mus)
  Jack Mason (Mus arr)
  Harold Zweifel (Mus arr)
  Bob Gordon (Mus arr)
  Eddie Durant (Mus adv)
  Weldon Hancock (Mus ed)
Sound: Fred Lau (Sd)
Special Effects: John Fulton (Spec photog eff)
Dance: Larry Ceballos (Mus numbers staged by)
Make Up: Bob Stephanoff (Makeup supv)
  Marie Clark (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Sid Ross (Prod asst)
  Dave Sebastian (Asst to prod)
  Raoul Pagel (Prod mgr)
Country: United States

Songs: "Tico-tico, no fubá," music by Zequínha de Abreu, Portuguese lyrics by Aloysio Oliveira, English lyrics by Ervin Drake; "Go West, Young Man," music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby; "Stranger Things Have Happened," "Je Vous Aime," "My Heart Was Doing a Bolero," "Let's Do the Copacabana" and "I Haven't Got a Thing to Sell," music and lyrics by Sam Coslow.
Composer: Aloysio Oliveira
  Zequínha de Abreu
  Sam Coslow
  Ervin Drake
  Bert Kalmar
  Harry Ruby

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Beacon Productions, Inc. 30/5/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP1323

PCA NO: 12290
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Musical comedy
Sub-Genre: Show business
 
Subjects (Major): Copacabana Nightclub (New York City)
  Deception
  Impersonation and imposture
  Latin Americans
  Nightclub entertainers
  Romantic rivalry
  Theatrical agents
 
Subjects (Minor): French
  Hotels
  Motion picture producers
  New York City--Times Square
  Nightclub owners
  Secretaries
  Singers
  Theatrical producers

Note: The film's title was taken from Monte Proser's famous New York nightclub, the Copacabana, which was located at 10 East 60th St. Writer Allen Boretz' name is misspelled "Alan" in the onscreen credits. According to a Jun 1944 HR news item, independent producer Jack H. Skirball was originally set to make the picture, with assistance from Proser. At that same time, George Raft was announced as the film's possible lead. This was the first film in which Groucho Marx appeared without his brothers. It is also the first film in which Groucho appeared in his own mustache, rather than a greasepaint one. This was Carmen Miranda's first film after leaving Twentieth Century-Fox, the studio to which she had been under contract since 1940. The film includes cameo appearances by Broadway writers Abel Green (the editor of Variety ), Louie Sobol ( New York Journal-American ), and Earl Wilson ( New York Post ). At the time of the production, Groucho Marx was married to Kay Gorcey, who had a small role in this film.
       HR news items add Chester Clute, Richard Elliott, Frank Scannell, Pierre Andre and Andrew Tombes to the cast, but their participation in the completed film has not been confirmed. Pierre Andre was signed to perform a specialty dance number with Dee Turnell, according to HR . In mid-Feb 1947, HR reported that producer Sam Coslow was considering reshooting scenes in which Miranda appears in a blonde wig, because of mail from Brazilian fans stating that they prefer her as a brunette. The reshot scenes were to be inserted in South American release prints only, according to the item. As reported in LAT on 14 Jul 1953, Murray P. Koch sued Coslow and George Frank for $80,000, money he claimed to have advanced Beacon to aid in the making of this film. Along with Walter Batchelor and David Hersh, both of whom were dead by the time the suit was filed, Frank and Coslow held a controlling interest in Beacon, which was deemed insolvent. The disposition of this lawsuit is not known. According to HR , the film was obtained for re-release by Hal R. Makelim's Atlas Pictures Co. in Jan 1954. The film was also re-issued in Jul 1972. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   21 Jun 1947.   
Daily Variety   23 Apr 1947.   
Film Daily   21 May 47   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Jun 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jun 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Nov 46   p. 21, 27
Hollywood Reporter   3 Dec 46   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Dec 46   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Dec 46   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Dec 46   p. 25.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jan 47   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Feb 47   p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter   21 May 47   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jul 47   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Jan 1954.   
Independent Film Journal   4 Jan 47   p. 35.
Los Angeles Times   14 Jul 1953.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   24 May 1947.   
New York Times   12 Jul 47   p. 7.
Variety   21 May 47   p. 15.
Variety   12 Jul 1972.   

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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.
 
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