AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Hello Frisco, Hello
Director: Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Mar 1943
Premiere Information:   World premiere in San Francisco, CA: 11 Mar 1943
Production Date:   2 Nov 1942--early Jan 1943; dance seq and retakes began 21 Jan 1943
Duration (in mins):   98-99
Duration (in feet):   8,939
Duration (in reels):   11
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Cast:   Alice Faye (Trudy Evans)  
    John Payne (Johnny Cornell)  
    Jack Oakie (Dan Daley)  
    Lynn Bari (Bernice Croft)  
    Laird Cregar (Sam Weaver)  
    June Havoc (Beulah Clancy)  
    Ward Bond (Sharkey)  
    Aubrey Mather (Charles Cochran)  
    John Archer (Ned Clark)  
    Frank Orth (Lou)  
    George Lloyd (Proprietor)  
    Frank Darien (Missionary)  
    Harry Hayden (Burkham)  
    Eddie Dunn (Joe, the foreman)  
    Charles Cane (O'Riley)  
    Frank M. Thomas (R. J. Boscom)  
    Kirby Grant (Specialty singer)  
    Mary Field (Cockney maid)  
    George Barbier (Col. Weatherby)  
    James Sills (Roller skating specialty)  
    Marie Brown (Roller skating specialty)  
    Ralph Dunn (Waiter)  
    Esther Dale (Aunt Harriet)  
    Edward Clark (Doorman)  
    Gino Corrado (Opera singer)  
    Adia Kuznetzoff (Opera singer)  
    Fortunio Bonanova (Opera singer)  
    Lorraine Elliott (Singer)  
    Ruth Gillette (Singer)  
    Edward Earle (Stage manager)  
    Ken Christy (Headwaiter)  
    James Flavin (Headwaiter)  
    Jackie Averill (Child dancer)  
    James Clemons Jr. (Child dancer)  
    John Sinclair (Drunk)  
    Jack Stoney (Drunk)  
    James Clemons (Sailor)  
    Fred Brown (Barker)  
    Larry Valli (Barker)  
    Ed Mundy (Preacher)  
    Ted North    
    Bob Perry    
    Bruce Warren    

Summary: At the turn of the century, entertainers Trudy Evans, Johnny Cornell, Dan Daley and Beulah Clancy struggle to become successful in the Barbary Coast section of San Francisco. Trudy is the star singer of the act and is in love with Johnny, who also acts as the group's manager. Despite his humble origins, Johnny has aspirations for a better life on Nob Hill, the high society part of town. After the quartet is fired from Sharkey's Colliseum for distracting the customers from drinking, Johnny concocts a scheme of singing in the streets and extorting money from saloon owners who want them to go away. Dan and Beulah are skeptical of Johnny's ambitions but stay in the group for Trudy's sake. Soon Johnny's idea pays off and with the money he opens his own club, The Grizzly Bear, and features Trudy as the main attraction. Despite the success of The Grizzly Bear, and other clubs he soon opens, Johnny still dreams of entering society and becomes involved with snobbish socialite Bernice Croft. Trudy, meanwhile, longs for Johnny, although it is obvious that he thinks of her as a singer first and a woman second. When Bernice loses her fortune due to bad investments, Johnny buys most of her possessions at an auction. Dan warns him about becoming involved with Bernice, but Johnny brushes him aside and offers to buy Bernice's house. Seeing a way out of her predicament, Bernice wheedles Johnny into proposing to her so that she will be able to maintain her standard of living. Trudy is devastated and accepts the offer of impressario Douglas Dawson to star in his new London show. While Trudy is a success abroad, Johnny re-opens the opera house founded by Bernice's late father. As Johnny spends his money on the opera house and Bernice's flighty friends, his Barbary Coast clubs go out of business until only The Grizzly Bear remains. Dan urges Johnny to ask Trudy to return, but Johnny stubbornly refuses, and soon after, Dan and Beulah are again working at Sharkey's after The Grizzly Bear closes. Johnny is forced to close the opera house as well, and during an argument, Bernice coldly informs him that she married him only for his money. Johnny gives her the deed to the house and after obtaining a divorce, works as a barker for a sideshow. Trudy, who has returned to San Francisco for a new show, is told about Johnny's troubles by Dan and Beulah. Trudy then engineers a ruse whereby Sam Weaver, a prospector whom Johnny has staked for years, pretends to have struck it rich and repays Johnny. Johnny is able to re-open The Grizzly Bear with the money, although on opening night, a drunken Sam reveals its true source. Johnny's pride overwhelms him and he is about to close the show when Dan tricks him into singing onstage with Trudy. While performing with Trudy, Johnny finally realizes that he loves her, and they embrace as Trudy performs her signature song, "You'll Never Know." 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
  Aaron Rosenberg (Asst dir)
Producer: William Goetz (Exec prod)
  Milton Sperling (Prod)
  William Perlberg (Prod)
Writer: Robert Ellis (Scr)
  Helen Logan (Scr)
  Richard Macauley (Scr)
  Viña Delmar (Story)
Photography: Charles [G.] Clarke (Dir of photog)
  Allen Davey (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: James Basevi (Art dir)
  Boris Leven (Art dir)
Film Editor: Barbara McLean (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
  Paul S. Fox (Set dec)
Costumes: Helen Rose (Mus seq cost des)
  Earl Luick (Ward)
  Ollie Hughes (Ward asst)
Music: Charles Henderson (Mus dir)
  Emil Newman (Mus dir)
Sound: Joseph E. Aiken (Sd)
  Roger Heman (Sd)
Special Effects: Fred Sersen (Spec photog eff)
Dance: Val Raset (Dances staged by)
  Fanchon (Mus seq supv)
  Hermes Pan (Dances staged by)
Make Up: Guy Pearce (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Sid Grauman (Tech adv)
  Harry Brand (Dir of pub)
Stand In: Helene Holmes (Stand-in for Alice Faye)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor dir)
  Henri Jaffa (Assoc)
Country: United States

Songs: "You'll Never Know," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren; "Hello, Frisco, Hello," music by Louis A. Hirsch, lyrics by Gene Buck; "Gee, But It's Great to Meet a Friend from Your Old Home Town," music by James McGavisk, lyrics by William Tracey; "Grizzly Bear," music by George Botsford, lyrics by Irving Berlin; "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," music by Maurice Abrahams and Lewis F. Muir, lyrics by Grant Clarke; "Sweet Cider Time, When You Were Mine," music by Percy Wenrich, lyrics by Joseph McCarthy; "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?" music and lyrics by C. W. Murphy and Will Letters, American version by William C. McKenna; "By the Watermelon Vine, Lindy Lou," music and lyrics by Thomas S. Allen; "They Always Pick on Me," music by Harry von Tilzer, lyrics by Stanley Murphy; "It's Tulip Time in Holland," music by Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Dave Radford; "Strike Up the Band," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, special lyrics by Mack Gordon; "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," music by Gus Edwards, lyrics by Edward Madden, vocal arr by Charles Henderson; "San Francisco," music by Bronislaw Kaper and Walter Jurmann, lyrics by Gus Kahn; "Bedelia," music and lyrics by Jean Schwartz and William Jerome; "Hello! Ma Baby," music and lyrics by Ida Emerson and Joseph E. Howard.
Composer: Bronislaw Kaper
  Harry von Tilzer
  William Tracey
  Maurice Abrahams
  Thomas S. Allen
  Irving Berlin
  George Botsford
  Gene Buck
  Grant Clarke
  Gus Edwards
  Ida Emerson
  George Gershwin
  Ira Gershwin
  Mack Gordon
  Charles Henderson
  Louis A. Hirsch
  Joseph E. Howard
  William Jerome
  Walter Jurmann
  Gus Kahn
  Will Letters
  Edward Madden
  Joseph McCarthy
  James McGavisk
  William C. McKenna
  Lewis F. Muir
  C. W. Murphy
  Stanley Murphy
  Dave Radford
  Jean Schwartz
  Harry Warren
  Percy Wenrich
  Richard A. Whiting

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 15/3/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12044

PCA NO: 8972
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Musical
Sub-Genre: Show business
Subjects (Major): Ambition
  Class distinction
  San Francisco (CA)--Barbary Coast
  Theatrical managers
Subjects (Minor): Auctions
  Marriage of convenience
  Opera houses
  Pride and vanity
  Salvation Army

Note: According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Robert Hopkins, Len Hammond and Jo Swerling worked on early versions of this film's screenplay. Their work was not included in the final picture, however. Late 1941 HR news items reported that Ken Englund and Harold Friedman had been assigned to work on the script, but their contribution to the completed film appears doubtful. According to a 10 Mar 1942 HR news item, writer Richard Macauley was being considered to direct the picture. An 11 Sep 1942 HR news item noted that producer Milton Sperling was leaving the studio to join the Marines, and that his duties would be assumed by Lee Marcus. HR production charts list William Perlberg as the film's producer, and it is possible that either he or Marcus supervised the film during shooting, although Sperling receives sole onscreen credit as the producer.
       According to a 20 Jun 1941 HR news item, Gene Tierney was set for a top role in the picture. A 6 Feb 1943 LAT item reported that Carole Landis and Betty Grable would be the film's stars, while a 10 Feb 1942 HR item noted that Anne Baxter had been set in the picture. Other HR news items include Reginald Gardiner and Harry Green in the cast, but they did not appear in the released picture.
       Although a 27 Nov 1942 studio press release announced that newspaper columnist Harry Crocker would appear in the film playing one of his own ancestors, who were socially prominent bankers in San Francisco, his appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. As noted by studio publicity, technical advice about turn-of-the-century San Francisco was provided by showman Sid Grauman, the owner of the renowned Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The picture marked the return to the screen of Alice Faye, who had taken time off to have her first child following filming of Week-End in Havana in 1941, and the last film appearance of John Payne, who joined the Army Air Corps, until the 1945 picture The Dolly Sisters . According to a modern source, "I Gotta Have You," a song composed by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, was recorded for the picture but cut before its release. Gordon and Warren received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "You'll Never Know," which became Faye's signature song.
       According to HR news items, San Francisco mayor Angelo Rossi met with studio executive Joseph Schenck in Feb 1943 to protest the use of the nickname "Frisco" in the film's title. Armed with petitions from several prominent civic organizations, Rossi persuaded Schenck to change the film's title to Hello, San Francisco, Hello in all its advertising in that city. Laurence Hirsch, the executor of the estate of composer Louis A. Hersch, who co-wrote "Hello, Frisco, Hello" with Gene Buck, brought an infringement suit against two music publishers and Twentieth Century-Fox, claiming that they did not have the right to use the song in the picture. His suit was dismissed in Jun 1945, however. Conductor and musician Pietro Cimini filed a lawsuit against the studio in 1943, in which he claimed that he was ridiculed and defamed, according to a May 1943 DV news item. Referring to the scene in which "Johnny" closes the opera house, thereby enraging a musician character named "Chambinni," Cimini asserted that the film depicted him as "inefficient and incompetent." The disposition of Cimini's suit has not been determined.
       Faye recreated her role in the 15 Nov 1943 Lux Radio Theatre presentation of the story, which co-starred Robert Young. Hello Frisco, Hello is an uncredited remake of the 1936 Twentieth Century-Fox film King of Burlesque , which was also based on Viña Delmar's original, unpublished story entitled "The Day Never Came." The 1936 film was directed by Sidney Lanfield and starred Faye, Warner Baxter and Jack Oakie (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2291). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Apr 43   p. 135.
Box Office   20 Mar 1943.   
Daily Variety   9 Mar 43   p. 3.
Daily Variety   6 May 43   p. 13.
Film Daily   15 Mar 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Jun 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Nov 41   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Dec 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Feb 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Mar 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jul 42   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Aug 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Sep 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Oct 42   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Oct 42   p. 6., 15643
Hollywood Reporter   30 Oct 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jan 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Jan 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jan 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Feb 43   pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Mar 43   p. 3, 6
Hollywood Reporter   12 Mar 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 45   p. 11.
Los Angeles Times   6 Feb 1943.   
Motion Picture Daily   9 Mar 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   13 Mar 43   pp. 1202-03.
New York Times   25 Mar 43   p. 25.
San Francisco Chronicle   11 Mar 1943.   
Variety   10 Mar 43   p. 15.

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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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