AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Powers Girl
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
Release Date:   15 Jan 1943
Production Date:   24 Aug--early Oct 1942 at General Service Studios
Duration (in mins):   93
Duration (in feet):   8,423
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Cast:   George Murphy (Jerry Hendricks)  
    Anne Shirley (Ellen Evans)  
    Carole Landis (Kay Evans)  
  Introducing the singing star of Jack Benny's radio program Dennis Day    
    Alan Mowbray (John Robert Powers)  
    Benny Goodman   and His Orchestra
    Jean Ames (Googie)  
    Mary Treen (Nancy)  
    Rafael Storm (Vandy Vandegrift)  
    Helen MacKellar (Mrs. Hendricks)  
    Harry Shannon (Mr. Hendricks)  
    Roseanna Murray (Edna Lambert)  
  The Powers American Beauties: Jayne Hazard    
    Lillian Eggers    
    Linda Stirling    
    Evelyn Frey    
    Eloise Hart    
    Patricia Mace    
    Barbara Slater    
    Rosemary Coleman    
    Martha Mature    
    Bonnie Manville    
    Edna Johnson    
    Shelly O'Brien    
    Rebel Randall    
    Judith Gibson    

Summary: Small town music teacher Ellen Evans loses her job when talented New York photographer Jerry Hendricks publishes a compromising, albeit innocent, photograph of her posing with the town drunk. Ellen goes to New York City to file a formal complaint against Jerry, who never obtained a signed release from her, but her sister Kay, a beautiful bargain basement model, insists on taking the matter into her own hands. Jerry fears losing his boss's recommendation for the Signal Corps if he finds out about Ellen's photograph, so he impersonates the vice-president of the magazine and promises to get Kay an introduction to the famous modeling agent John Robert Powers if Ellen will sign the release. Ellen signs the release only after she realizes that meeting Powers would fulfill her selfish sister's lifelong dream. However, as Jerry has lied about his friendship with Powers, he only gets in to see him when he pretends to be an air raid warden. Jerry then tricks Powers into meeting Kay, and Powers is so impressed with her that he hires her to train in his modeling program. Jerry is later arrested for arson because he set a fire in Powers' office as part of his imposture. He is deeply touched when Ellen pays his bail, and they fall in love after she sees his more artistic photographs. Kay, meanwhile, progresses through Powers' modeling school and is introduced at a preview party as the top "Powers Girl" of 1943. Ellen prepares a surprise party for Kay later that night at their apartment, but Kay insists that Jerry stay with her at the nightclub so that she can land a contract with a big cosmetics firm. Although Jerry thinks of Kay only as a "sister," Kay gets him hopelessly drunk and tries to seduce him. Kay's friends, Nancy and Googie, advise Ellen of her sister's subterfuge, but Kay and Jerry never show up for the party. Ellen is shocked when she calls Jerry's apartment late that night and Kay picks up the telephone. Ellen challenges her sister, vowing that she will no longer allow her to take everything dear to her. The next morning, Jerry receives his enlistment notice from the Signal Corps, and his friends, famous clarinetist and band leader Benny Goodman and singer Dennis Day, plan a farewell party for him. Ellen rents a glamorous dress and a handsome foreigner, Vandy Vandegrift, to make Jerry jealous. When Jerry's parents attend the party, they assume that Kay is his fiancée. Ellen rebuffs Jerry, who is completely unaware of the rivalry between the sisters, and when he picks a fight with Vandy, Vandy knocks him out. Vandy is horrified, however, when he learns that Jerry will soon be his superior officer in the Signal Corps, and revives Jerry by telling him that Ellen sincerely loves him. The next morning, Jerry and Ellen marry at the courthouse, and Jerry immediately leaves to report for duty. 

Production Company: Rogers Productions, Inc.  
Production Text: A Charles R. Rogers Production
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
Producer: Charles R. Rogers (Prod)
  Monroe Shaff (Assoc prod)
  John W. Rogers (Assoc prod)
  Wm. A. Pierce (Asst to prod)
Writer: E. Edwin Moran (Scr)
  Harry Segall (Scr)
  Wm. A. Pierce (Story)
  Malvin Wald (Story)
Photography: Stanley Cortez (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Bernard Herzbrun (Art dir)
Film Editor: George Arthur (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Earl Wooden (Set dressing)
Costumes: Adrian (Gowns created by)
  Renè Hubert (Costumes in "Out of This World" number)
Music: Louis Silvers (Mus dir)
Sound: Wm. Wilmarth (Sd eng)
Dance: Jack Donohue (Dance numbers conceived and staged by)
Production Misc: Joseph H. Nadel (Prod mgr)
  Jack Merton (Casting dir)
  Joseph Patrick McDonald (Grip)
Country: United States

Songs: "Three Dreams," "Partners," "Out of This World" and "The Lady Who Didn't Believe in Love," music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Kim Gannon.
Composer: Kim Gannon
  Jule Styne
Source Text: Based on the book Powers Girls by John Robert Powers (New York, 1941).
Authors: John Robert Powers

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Rogers Productions, Inc. 27/1/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP11881 Yes

PCA NO: 8951
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Models
  Romantic rivalry
Subjects (Minor): City-country contrast
  Dismissal (Employment)
  Impersonation and imposture
  Military service, Voluntary
  Music teachers
  New York City
  John Robert Powers

Note: News items add the following information about the production: In May 1941, HR anounced that Warner Bros. had purchased an original story idea titled "Powers' Models" from Voldemar Vetluguin, associate editor of Red Book magazine. Warner Bros. planned to shoot the film as a high-budget Technicolor musical starring Ann Sheridan, and highlighting the John Robert Powers agency, the most famous modeling agency of the 1940s. A later news item, however, reported that Warner Bros. intended to produce a series of short films on the subject. In Oct 1941, HR noted that John W. Rogers, son of producer Charles Rogers, and Monroe Shaff purchased the rights to John Roberts Powers' book Powers Girls , intending to produce a musical with songs by Jimmy McHugh and Frank Loesser and dances directed by Georgie Hale. HR news items also report that Richard Wallace was originally slated to direct and Priscilla Lane worked in the film but dropped out of the cast due to illness. Other Powers models slated to appear in the film, according to HR , were Carmel Fitzgerald, Jean Norton, Marian Whitney and Betty Bond, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   26-Dec-42   
Daily Variety   17 Dec 1942. pp. 3-4.   
Film Daily   18 Dec 42   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   22 May 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Oct 1941.   
Hollywood Reporter   22 Oct 1941.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jun 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Jun 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Aug 42   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Sep 42   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Sep 42   p. 2, 4
Hollywood Reporter   11 Sep 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Oct 1942.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Nov 42   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald   19 Dec 1942.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Dec 42   p. 1078.
New York Times   26 Mar 43   p. 14.
Variety   23 Dec 42   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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