AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Let's Dance
Alternate Title: Little Boy Blue
Director: Norman Z. McLeod (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Nov 1950
Production Date:   5 Jul--7 Sep 1949; Addl scenes: 21 Nov 1949
Duration (in mins):   111-112
Duration (in feet):   10,055
Duration (in reels):   12
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Cast:   Betty Hutton (Kitty McNeil)  
    Fred Astaire (Donald Elwood)  
    Roland Young (Mr. Edmund Pohlwhistle)  
    Ruth Warrick (Carola Everett)  
    Lucile Watson (Serena Everett)  
    Gregory Moffett (Richard Everett)  
    Barton MacLane (Larry Channock)  
    Shepperd Strudwick (Timothy Bryant)  
    Melville Cooper (Mr. Charles Wagstaffe)  
    Harold Huber (Marcel)  
    George Zucco (Judge)  
    Peggy Badey (Bubbles Malone)  
    Virginia Toland (Elsie)  
    Sayre Dearing (Process server)  
    Syd Saylor (Herman)  
    James Burke (George)  
    Charles Evans (Mr. Pierce)  
    Nana Bryant (Mrs. Bryant)  
    Jerry James (Band leader)  
    Oliver Blake (Man in bowler hat)  
    Ida Moore (Mrs. McGuire)  
    Charmienne Harker (Mary)  
    Mary Field (Nurse)  
    Susan Scott (Showgirl)  
    Carol Brewster (Showgirl)  
    Eve Whitney (Showgirl)  
    Mary Ellen Gleason (Showgirl)  
    Kerry O'Day (Showgirl)  
    Duke York (Waiter)  
    Boyd Davis (Butler)  
    Jack Trent (Butler/cowboy)  
    Esther Somers (Nurse Gorman)  
    Mary Benoit (Policewoman)  
    Charles Dayton (Court reporter)  
    Todd Karns (Sergeant)  
    Delmar Costello (Cowboy)  
    Loyal Underwood (Cowboy)  
    Bobby Barber (Bartender)  
    Eddie Johnson (Trumpet player)  
    Paul Lees (Private)  
    Herbert Vigran (Chili parlor owner)  
    Rolfe Sedan (Jewelry clerk)  
    Ralph Peters (Cab driver)  
    Fred Datig Jr. (American soldier)  
    Fred Zendar (American lieutenant)  
    Paul Pierce (Square dance caller)  
    Jerry James (Captain)  
    Eric Alden (Captain)  
    Howard Joslin (Police lieutenant)  
    Harry Woods (Police lieutenant)  
    Roger Creed (American soldier/Mechanic)  
    Charles Hamilton (American soldier/Mechanic)  
    Harry Raven (American soldier/Mechanic)  
    Milton DeLugg (Himself)  
    Ethan Laidlaw (Stagehand)  
    Lyle Moraine (Stagehand)  
    Diane Mumby (Chorus girl)  
    Bert Stevens (Cook)  
    Frank Hagney (Police sergeant)  
    Philip Ahlm (Policeman)  
    Bob Crosby (Policeman)  
    Eddie Baker (Policeman)  
    Robert R. Fortier (Concessionaire and barker)  
    Chester Conklin (Watchman)  
    George Davis (Driver)  
    Wilbur Mack (Husband, guest)  
    Paul Bradley (Guest)  
    Hall Bartlett (Guest)  
    Sam Harris (Guest)  
    Bess Flowers (Guest)  
    Marion Gray (Guest)  
    Warren Mace (Guest)  
    Ottola Nesmith (Wife, guest)  
    Stanley Blystone (New York policeman)  
    Dick Keene (Clerk)  
    Don Brodie (Clerk)  
    Sylvia Lamarr (Businesswoman)  
    Brahm van den Berg (Dancer)  
    Lee J. Sneddon (Dancer)  
    Marjorie Jackson (Dancer)  
    Harry V. Cheshire    
    Peggy O'Neill    

Summary: In London in 1944, performers Kitty McNeil and Donald Elwood entertain British and American troops. Kitty becomes infuriated when Donald, after years of being non-commital, unexpectedly announces onstage that they are to be married. Because Kitty has already married Richard Everett, an American flyer whom she met in a hospital outside London, the performing act splits up. Kitty soon becomes a widow, however, and five years later, she and her son Richie are living with the wealthy Everett family in Boston. Although Dick's sister Carola is sympathetic, Kitty feels stifled by her grandmother-in-law Serena's disapproval of her former profession, and her strict discipline of Richie, and secretly moves to New York with him. Donald is an unsuccessful New York investment broker, and continues to perform for a meager salary at Larry Channock's nightclub. Although Donald first sees Kitty again in the Chili Cabana cafĂ©, he pretends to run into her on the sidewalk. The former partners try to impress each other with exaggerated success stories, but Donald soon learns the truth, and promises to get Kitty work at the nightclub. That night, Donald falls asleep in Kitty's apartment after telling Richie a story. Unknown to Kitty, a private detective is following her and takes note of her nighttime visitor. Kitty is soon working as a cigarette girl at Larry's nightclub, and the staff looks after Richie, providing him with an education as well as regular meals and naps. Serena's lawyers, Edmund Pohlwhistle and Charles Wagstaffe, show up at the nightclub and threaten Kitty with a subpoena unless she gives Serena custody of Richie. Even Elsie and Bubbles Malone, two beautiful showgirls, fail to dissuade the lawyers from their mission, and the next day, Donald helps defend Kitty when she appears before a judge, who grants her sixty days to find more lucrative employment or a husband. Donald proposes to Kitty, but while they are in line at the marriage license bureau, she learns that he still intends to give up entertaining and pursue investment brokering, at which he is a dismal failure. Kitty rejects Donald, and also refuses to accept $20,000 from Carola, who earnestly wants to help her. Kitty starts dating Donald's friend, wealthy playboy Timothy Bryant, but when they announce their engagement, Donald determines that they are mismatched, and insinuates to Timothy that Kitty is a gold digger. When Kitty then appears wearing his mother's heirloom necklace, Timothy breaks off the engagement. As sixty days have passed, Serena takes custody of Richie. Donald, meanwhile, has invested Carola's $20,000, which she turned over to him, in a racehorse, and impresses Serena when he gets an exorbitant offer to purchase the horse, after it wins a $50,000 sweepstakes. Having charmed Serena, Donald, who plans to give the winnings to Kitty, then declines Serena's offer to become her business manager because of her selfish treatment of Richie. At the same time, Kitty sneaks Richie out of the house. Serena, Pohlwhistle, and Wagstaffe report Richie's kidnapping to the police and then go to the nightclub to find him. Donald and the restaurant staff help hide Richie, and Kitty pretends to be distraught over news of her son's "kidnapping." However, when she learns that Donald has finally accepted his destiny as a dancer, Kitty goes on with the show, and announces their impending marriage onstage. After the show, Serena offers them her country home. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Director: Norman Z. McLeod (Dir)
  Edward Salven (Asst dir)
  Danny McCauley (2d asst dir)
  Al Mann (2d asst dir)
  James Vincent (Dial dir)
Producer: Robert Fellows (Prod)
Writer: Allan Scott (Scr)
  Dane Lussier (Addl dial)
  Maurice Zolotow (Suggested by a story by)
  Richard English (Contr wrt)
  Arthur Sheekman (Contr wrt)
Photography: George Barnes (Dir of photog)
  Jack Warren (2d cam)
  Eugene Liggett (Asst cam)
  Howard Kelly (Gaffer)
  Bud Fraker (Stills)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  Roland Anderson (Art dir)
Film Editor: Ellsworth Hoagland (Ed)
  Lee Hall (Asst cutter)
Set Decoration: Sam Comer (Set dec)
  Ross Dowd (Set dec)
  Dick Webb (Prop shop)
  Art Camp (Props)
  Barney Schoeffel (Props)
Costumes: Edith Head (Gowns)
  Eric Selig (Ward)
  Ruth Davis (Ward)
  Grace Kuhn (Ward)
Music: Robert Emmett Dolan (Mus dir)
  Joseph J. Lilley (Vocal arr)
  Troy Sanders (Mus assoc)
  Van Cleave (Spec orch arr)
  Aza Rayner (Mus casting)
Sound: Hugo Grenzbach (Sd rec)
  John Cope (Sd rec)
  R. D. Cook (Rec)
Special Effects: Gordon Jennings (Spec photog eff)
  Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
Dance: Hermes Pan (Dances staged by)
  Virginia Sanctos (Asst to Hermes Pan)
  Dave Rogel (Dance asst)
  Peggy Carroll (Dance asst)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup supv)
  Bill Woods (Makeup artist)
  S. Smith (Makeup artist)
  Frank Thayer (Makeup artist)
  Nellie Manley (Hair)
  Gertrude Reade (Hair)
  Hedvig Mjorud (Hair)
Production Misc: Tommy Chambers (Rehearsal pianist)
  Richard L. Johnston (Prod mgr)
  Frank Caffey (Prod mgr)
  Richard Blaydon (Asst prod mgr)
  Bert McKay (Casting)
  Bill Greenwald (Outer casting)
  Al Jermy (Pub)
  Harry Hogan (Scr supv)
  Lyle Figland (Stage eng)
  Darrell Turnmire (Grip)
  Robert Reed (Mike grip)
  Joe Schuster (Elec)
Color Personnel: Monroe W. Burbank (Technicolor col consultant)
  Henry Heimus (Technicolor tech)
  Earl Metz (Technicolor asst)
Country: United States

Songs: "The Hyacinth," "I Can't Stop Talking About Him," "Oh Them Dudes," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Why Fight the Feeling" and "Tunnel of Love," music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.
Composer: Frank Loesser
Source Text: Based on the short story "Little Boy Blue" by Maurice Zolotow in Pic (Oct 1948).
Authors: Maurice Zolotow

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures Corp. 24/11/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP638 Yes

PCA NO: 13951
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Musical comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Child custody
  Class distinction
  Entertainers
  In-laws
  Nightclubs
  Proposals (Marital)
 
Subjects (Minor): Boston (MA)
  Brokers
  Chefs
  Chorus girls
  Cigarette girls
  Horseracing
  Judges
  Lawyers
  London (England)
  New York City
  Playboys
  Romantic rivalry
  Television
  Widows
  World War II

Note: The working title of this film was Little Boy Blue . Information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals the following information about the production: Paramount postponed production on the film from 15 May 1949 to 5 Jul 1949 so that actress Betty Hutton could appear in Annie Get Your Gun for M-G-M. A lengthy studio memo noted that although production officially began on 5 Jul 1949, many of the musical numbers were worked on prior to that date. In addition, the memo indicates that the script was frequently re-written on the set, and the finished film initially ran for two hours and twenty minutes. Although a production number titled "Ming Toy" was shot on 13 Sep 1949, it was not included in the final film. The song "Tunnel of Love" was originally written by Frank Loesser for the 1949 M-G-M film Neptune's Daughter , but was not included in that production (see below). Modern sources report that this number featured a solo performance by Hutton. A HR news item indicates that Jane Cowl was initially cast in the role of "Serena," but withdrew from the film due to a knee injury. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   19 Aug 1950.   
Daily Variety   9 Aug 50   p. 3, 5
Film Daily   11 Aug 50   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   Jul 49   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Jul 49   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Aug 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Aug 50   p. 442.
New York Times   30 Nov 50   p. 42.
Variety   9 Sep 50   p. 8.

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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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